September 07, 2008
Nearly a year after the grand inauguration of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn, GA, on September 7, 2008, another landmark event took place at the same site, the inauguration of the Family Activity Center (FAC).
The inauguration day began with the traditional mahapuja ceremony in the presence of sadhus. With the chanting of the vedic shlokas the atmosphere was filled with divinity. All present were delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the rituals. John Oxendine, the Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Georgia, and Pujya Yagnavallabh Swami inaugurated the FAC by untying the thread at the main entrance gate. After the inauguration, an enlivening traditional folk dance was performed by the youths of BAPS and discourses were given by sadhus. On the eve of the inauguration, invited guest and acclaimed musician, Jaydeep Swadia performed a melodious bhajan sandhya. Sadhus and devotes from across North America attended this historic event and helped in seva to make this event a memorable one for all.
The FAC is clad with Indian pink sandstone and houses a 24,000 square foot assembly hall. It will hold weekly assemblies and will be the primary venue for cultural programs and youth activities
Since the inauguration of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on August 26th, 2007, many have marveled at the architectural beauty, reveled in its cultural symbolism, and sought refuge within its serene walls. School groups, senior groups, women�s clubs, and college classes have traveled from the nearby communities and states to learn about Hinduism and the Indian culture. Some highlights of the first year for the Mandir include:
* Community service through the canned food collection for the Atlanta Food Bank, a blood drive in partnership with the American Red Cross, and Walk 2007 benefiting the American Cancer Society
* Fostering Indian culture by organizing language classes, traditional Indian music instrument classes, and youth forums and conventions
* Reliving the joys of Uttarayan, with dozens of kites flying through out the skies in early January 2008
* Hosting special guests such as Mr. Amit Shah, the mayor of Amdavad, Mr. B. S. Yeddyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, and Mr. Ronen Sen, the Indian Ambassador to the United States.
The mandir along with the newly inaugurated FAC welcomes visitors daily from 9am to 6pm.