For more than 10 years the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Sydney, Australia has stood as a centre of community, culture and spirituality. After years of planning and hard work, renovations for the new Mandir have now begun. A Shilanyas Mahotsav, Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony, for the new Mandir was held on Sunday, 5 February 2012 in the presence of Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami and other sadhus, as well as invited guests and dignitaries.
Over 400 devotees participated in the Vedic mahapuja ceremony which was conducted by the sadhus. Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami along with a number of devotees and sadhus visited the Mandir site to lay the foundation stones blessed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in India.
The ceremony was followed by an assembly attended by invited guests and over 800 devotees, many of whom had travelled from around Australia to be present on this historic occasion.
Addressing the gathering, State Minister Victor Dominello, who was representing the New South Wales State Premier, Barry O'Farrell, said, "The new temple will be built with not only physical material like bricks and mortar, but will be built with goodness and righteousness, built with dharma….Millions of people's lives have been touched and enriched by BAPS since its founding in 1907. And we are fortunate and blessed that this tradition continues here."
Also present on this special occasion were the Consul General of India to Sydney, Amit Dasgupta, and the Federal Member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee.
Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami and the sadhus stayed in Sydney for 12 days during which they conducted Satsang Shibirs and assemblies, presented a kirtan aradhana and performed over 250 home visits to spiritually inspire devotees and well-wishers.