Sunday April 17, 2005

Sunday April 17, 2005 is a day to be written in gold in the history books of BAPS. This day marked the start of construction of the first traditional stone and marble mandir in Canada. It was an event that the Canada Satsang mandal had been working round the clock for weeks. The event commenced at 9:30 am with the mahapuja. Hundreds of yajmans consisting of women children and men participated in the mahapuja amidst the traditional music played by a group of south Indian musicians.

Premier Dalton McGuinty, the chief guest of the event, was welcomed in a traditional fashion by the bal and balika mandal of Canada . Along with him many other dignitaries such as Mr. John Tory (Leader of the Ontario PC Party), Hon. Roy McMurtry (Chief Justice), Hon. Harinder Takhar (Minister of Transportation-Ontario), Mr. Roy Cullen (MP), Dr. Shafiq Qaadri (MPP- Etobicoke North), Bob Kaplan (Former Solicitor General of Canada - Etobicoke North), S.R. Grover (Consul of India - Cons & Com), Suzan Hall (Councilor - Etobicoke North, Ward 1), Mr. Bill Blair (Police Chief of Toronto), Mr. Armand La Barge (Police Chief of York Region) and Inter-faith leaders of other religions attended this event.

Following the mahapuja the ritual of 'Abhishek' was performed, where the divine image of Shri Nilkanth Varni (Bhagwan Swaminarayan) was sprinkled with waters from the holy rivers of India. The main program on the center stage had various performances by the traditionally clothed children and youth of the Canada satsang mandal including chanting of the slokas and inspiring speeches. The dignitaries expressed their happiness in being a part of this event by speaking on the occasion. P. Yagnavallabh Swami gave the message of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and established the need and significance of such mandirs in our society.

Following the main stage program was the highlight of this whole event, the groundbreaking ceremony for the first traditional mandir in Canada . First, the murtis of Thakorji and Pramukh Swami Maharaj were placed in a "palkhi" and taken to the site of the new shikkharbadh mandir in a grand procession. Then on the sacred ground with the sacred bricks in hand everyone present on that day got a chance to lay the bricks for this to-be-magnificent beauty of architecture. At the end of the groundbreaking ceremony everyone was served mahaprasad. This historic event was covered by many TV channels and also by the press media.

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