The Mandir Mahotsav, celebrating the opening of the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Brisbane, Australia, began on 14 February 2014 with a grand and colourful sagar yatra – a procession on the Brisbane River – in the presence of Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami.
The murtis of the new mandir were placed on three different boats. In one, sadhus led a chorus of bhajans, while in other boats children in costumes, youths performing traditional dances, women in traditional dress and devotees joined in the celebrations of the opening of the first BAPS Mandir in Queensland.
The murti-pratishtha rituals were performed on 15 February in the presence of Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and sadhus, guests and devotees from across Australia, New Zealand and south-east Asia.
Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, together with Federal MP of Rankin, Dr Jim Chalmers, community leaders and other dignitaries, officially opened the Mandir by untying a ribbon at the entrance of the murtidarshan hall.
Dr Chalmers was greatly impressed by the spirit of volunteerism and community service inspired by the mandir, "One of the biggest values you hold is that in the happiness of others, lies your happiness. This is a value that I feel we all share."
Other representatives present included State MP, Michael Latter, Logan City Deputy Mayor, Cr Russell Lutton, acting superintendent, David Nevin, and local community Aboriginal leader 'Aunty' Robin Williams.
In the evening, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and the sadhus presided over a special assembly and kirtan aradhana to conclude the celebrations.