From the Indian-Africa Forum Summit III in New Delhi, 12 First Ladies from African Nations visited Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi.
The visiting African delegation included H.E. Mme. Ana Paula dos Santos of Angola, H.E. Mme. Beatrice Harerimana of Burundi, H.E. Mme. Roman Tesfaye of Ethiopia, H.E. Mme. Lordina Dramani Mahama of Ghana, H.E. Mme. Mathato Mosisili of Lesotho, H.E Mme. Keita Aminata Maiga of Mali, Lady Sarojini Devi Jugnauth of Mauritius, H.E. Mme. Monica Geingos of Namibia, Her Majesty Queen Inkhosikati Make Lafogiyane of Swaziland, H.E. Mme. Bongi Ngema Zuma of South Africa, H.E. Mme. Asha Mahmoud Mzee of Tanzania and H.E. Mme. Edith Kutesa of Uganda.
Each First Lady was welcomed in a traditional Indian manner with flowers, a chandlo (vermillion powder) and the tying of the sacred kalva (sacred thread) by senior representatives of Swaminarayan Akshardham and BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
After admiring the Mayur Dwar (Peacock Gate), the delegation went to the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir. After offering respects and viewing the mandir’s architecture, the delegation visited the Gajendra Pithika (Elephant Plinth) that features 148 life-like carved stone elephants depicting messages of social harmony, peace and spirituality.
Then, the delegation offered prayers for world peace and harmony by offering ‘abhishek’, the ceremonial pouring of sanctified water from 151 holy rivers, lakes and ponds across India, on the sacred image of Sri Neelkanth Varni.
The delegation also experienced the educational boat ride exhibition ‘Sanskruti Darshan’, viewing India’s glorious heritage and India's contributions to humanity through the ages during the 14-minute boat ride.