The Honorable Houston Mayor Bill White accompanied by his wife, Andrea White, visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Stafford, Texas on the evening of February 13, 2008.
The Mayor arrived shortly after 6:30 pm and was introduced to several national and local BAPS volunteers. Dressed in colorful Indian clothes, children greeted Mayor Bill White in the traditional Hindu manner by applying a chandlo to his forehead and tying a nada chhadhi on his right wrist, to the accompaniment of vedic prayers by children.
Mrs. White was also welcomed in the traditional Hindu manner by the ladies volunteers of BAPS. She had recently visited the mandir and was familiar with the traditional welcome.
The Mayor and Mrs. White then proceeded to the central dome of the mandir, before taking part in sandhya (evening) arti. After the arti finished, the head sadhu of the Mandir, Pujya Anirdesh Swami welcomed the Mayor with a garland.
Mayor White commented to the sadhus on the beauty of Bhagwan Swaminarayan's murti along with the mandir. The couple then proceeded to the sanctum sanctorum where they offered flower petals at the central shrine. Both spent several minutes absorbing the peace and beautiful intricate architecture of the Mandir. More than the carvings, the spirit and volunteer efforts with which the mandir was built astounded more so. They were genuinely appreciative of all the BAPS community service activities in the Houston area.
Upon seeing the murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Mayor White recalled his visit with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. He was amazed that even at the age of 87, Pramukh Swami Maharaj continues to travel around the world and how his inspiration, divinity and guidance are felt by all. Finally, the Mayor was presented with a beautiful picture of the mandir as a memento of his visit.