The Honourable Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, visited the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Sydney on 6 June. Mr. Shorten, along with Sam Dastyari, Federal Senator for NSW, Julie Owens, Federal Member for Parramatta, Michelle Rowland, Federal Member for Greenway and parliamentary staff were greeted with a traditional Vedic shantipath and welcomed with a chandlo and nadachhadi ceremony.
The Opposition Leader and the guests went to the Murtis where they had darshan and learnt about the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and inspiration given by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. They then had a tour of the recently reconstructed mandir where Mr Shorten met with visiting devotees and kitchen volunteers. He was greatly impressed by the dedication and spirit of volunteerism shown.
The guests and staff were shown a presentation about BAPS' ongoing community and spiritual activities in its Australian centres and the work done by Swamishri, including the creation of Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi.
After hearing of its grandeur and beauty from Ms Owens and Ms Rowland, both of whom have visited Akshardham, Mr Shorten said "I'm looking forward to visiting the Akshardham and would like to come back to the Mandir to see all the volunteers and the community kitchen in action."
All the visitors greatly enjoyed the visit, spending just under an hour at the premises.