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India's External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj visited Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi on the holy Hindu festival day of Makar Sankranti to experience India’s ageless beauty, borderless culture and timeless values.

Smt. Sushma Swaraj was welcomed in a traditional Indian manner with a garland of flowers, a chandlo (vermillion powder) and the tying of the sacred kalva (sacred thread) by trustees and senior volunteers on behalf of Swaminarayan Akshardham and BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

After admiring the Mayur Dwar (Peacock Gate), she made her way to the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir where she witnessed the world’s ‘Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple’.

After offering respects and viewing the mandir’s architecture, she visited the Gajendra Pithika (Elephant Plinth) that includes 148 life-sized carved stone elephants depicting message of social harmony, peace and spirituality.

Smt. Sushma Swaraj offered prayers for world peace and harmony by offering ‘abhishek’, the ceremonial pouring of sanctified water from 151 holy rivers, lakes and ponds across India on the sacred image of Shri Neelkanth Varni.

She watched the giant screen film on the epic journey of Shri Neelkanth Varni throughout India called Neelkanth Darshan. She sailed on the Sanskruti Vihar, an educational and cultural boat ride through 10,000 years of India’s glorious heritage that highlights India's contributions to humanity. Experiencing the Hall of Values, called Sahajanand Darshan, she viewed robotic shows depicting the ideals of nonviolence, honest, harmony and faith. Minister Swaraj then witnessed the Sahaj Anand Water Show, a theatrical presentation about an ancient Upanishad story with modern fountains, projections, lasers and fire effects.

Sharing her experience at Akshardham, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote, “An extraordinary experience. Out of the world realization. A feeling that I never have experienced before. Showcasing the glorious past along with the modern present strength of Bharat, this Akshardham Mandir is indeed an unparalleled creation.”

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