The Mandir Mahotsav, celebrating the opening of the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Melbourne, Australia, began on 23 March 2012 with a colourful parade the through the local streets in the presence of Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami. The murtis for the new mandir were placed on beautifully decorated floats which were followed by sadhus leading a chorus of bhajans, children in costumes performing folk dances, women in traditional dress and devotees carrying flags of Australia and India.

Also taking part in the parade were local residents, community leaders and representatives. Representing the Victorian Government, Craig Ondarchie, State Member of Parliament for the Northern Metropolitan Region said, “Today we saw the coming together ofthe Mandir and the community…By sharing your faith and culture, you have improved the well-being of Victoria and the local community.”

The Murti-Pratishtha Ceremony was performed on 24 March 2012 by Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami, in the presence of guests and worshippers from across Australia, New Zealand and south-east Asia. The murtis, previously sanctified by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in India, were installed in the new mandir amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras. In a special message, Pramukh Swami Maharaj blessed the people of Melbourne with peace and happiness.

Stevan Kozmevski, Mayor of Whittlesea Council, praised the efforts of BAPS and its volunteers. Also present at the Mandir opening were Councillor Mary Lalios, the Consul General of India, Subhakanta Behera, and others guests and dignitaries.

A drama portraying the history of Satsang in Melbourne, beginning with Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s first visit in 1984, was presented by BAPS youths as part of the Mandir Mahotsav. Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami and the sadhus presided over a special assembly in honor of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj, a kirtan aradhana and satsang assemblies to spiritually inspire devotees and well-wishers.

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