Four days of celebrations marked the inauguration of the new BAPS shikharbaddha mandir at Ambegaon- Pune. The mandir, located at Ambegaon on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway, is 185 ft. long, 182 ft. wide and 75 ft. tall, and is adorned with five majestic shikhars (pinnacles), 10 magnificent domes and 248 intricate carved pillars.
The celebrations commenced on the morning of 16 February 2017 with a Vedic Vishwa Shanti Mahayaag (Yagna for World Peace). Guided by learned BAPS sadhus, over 4,000 devotees participated in the Vedic rituals, praying for the peace and well-being of society.
In the evening a special Women’s Assembly was held. Based on the theme, ‘Asatoma Sadgamaya...’ – a peace mantra from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad – vibrant traditional dances, a specially scripted drama and speeches inspired hundreds of women with the message of peace.
On the afternoon of 17 February, a grand nagar yatra (procession) through the streets of Pune was organized in which the murtis to be consecrated in the new mandir were paraded in colorful, decorated floats to sanctify the whole city. Around three thousand saints and devotees participated in the 5-km procession.
In the evening assembly of 18 February, a cultural program themed ‘Mandir Mahima’ was presented by BAPS children and youths. Through traditional dances, a drama and speeches social and cultural issues troubling society today were highlighted and how mandirs can provide solutions to such problems. More than 10,000 devotees and well-wishers attended the presentation.
On the morning of 19 February, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj performed the Vedic murti-pratishtha rituals of the murtis in their respective shrines. Thereafter, in the public assembly to commemorate the mandir inauguration, revered 98-year-old guru Dada Vaswani and other dignitaries addressed the gathering of 15,000 devotees and well-wishers. The assembly concluded with the blessings of Param Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj.
Around 1,000 men and women volunteers from Mumbai assisted the local volunteers in making the celebrations a grand success.