The Premier of the State of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the Hon. Barry O’Farrell visited Swaminarayan Akshardham on the morning of 2 November 2012.
Mr O’Farrell was leading a trade delegation to India, and visited the entire complex over a span on over 3 hours. He was received on behalf of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the inspirer and creator of Swaminarayan Akshardham, by senior sadhus of BAPS.
They welcomed Mr O’Farrell in traditional style by applying a chandlo (vermillion powder) on his forehead, tying a sacred nada chhadi and a placing a garland of sanctified flowers around his neck. He then had the privilege of performing abhishek of Neelkanth Varni.
Commenting on his visit, Mr O’Farrell wrote: "A truly moving and remarkable experience. A tribute to the vision and effort of all the devotees. I can't wait to return".
Accompanying Mr O’Farrell at the visit was Dr Peta Seaton, Senior Advisor to the Premier; Mr Nihal Gupta, Chair of the NSW Multicultural Business Advisory Panel; Dr Harry Harinath, Chair of the Cricket Board of NSW and Mr Rohit Manchanda, Director of Trade & Investment at NSW’s Mumbai Trade Office.