The grand three-day Mandir Mahotsav to mark the opening of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Long Island, New York, took place in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami) – one of the most senior Swamis of BAPS, on October 9, 2016. Devotees and well-wishers from the tri-state area were joined by devotees from across the nation for the inauguration celebrations.
The inauguration of this mandir marked the culmination of three decades of unflinching dedication by the devotees. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj had envisioned the creation of a mandir in the Long Island community since the late 1980s. With the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, devotees commenced the construction in 2012. Hundreds of volunteers, ranging from little children to college-aged students to elderly individuals, contributed thousands of volunteer hours to making this dream a reality.
With the blessing and guidance of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the festivities for the mandir opening began with a melodious Kirtan Aradhana (singing of devotional hymns) by BAPS Swamis on Friday, October 7th. On Saturday, October 8th, a yagna was performed with prayers for family unity and world peace. The celebrations culminated on Sunday, October 9th with the murti-pratishta ceremony and mandir inauguration. These murtis were consecrated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Sarangpur, India on September 13, 2013.
Speaking on occasion, Steven Bellone, Suffolk County Executive said, “I am absolutely ecstatic to be here today. This is a great day for Long Island. This mandir is absolutely beautiful. It is gorgeous. Long Island, Suffolk County, this nation, this world is enriched, has been made better by all of the people inside this room today. There are a lot of problems in the world today, but when I look into this room, I see an army of people who are good and fighting for good and what is best about humanity in our world today. So I feel good, and I feel confident, and I feel proud about our future.” Other dignitaries present for the event were Assemblyman Chad A. Lupinacci, Steve Zimmerman from Newsday Corporation and community leaders from New York and New Jersey.
The mandir was constructed utilizing a suite of eco-friendly and cost-effective technological advancements including natural lighting techniques and LED lights to help reduce its carbon footprint. The 48,000 square foot mandir includes youth classrooms, a gymnasium, and an assembly hall to host the weekly Satsang or spiritual assemblies.
The mandir will stand as a testament to the spirit of service, devotion to God and the spiritual journeys of all those who have spent thousands of volunteer hours in its construction.