The historic foundation stone-laying ceremony (Shilanyas Vidhi) of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Calgary, Alberta took place on Sunday, August 16, 2020. The vedic ceremony took place at the new Mandir site following social distancing protocols. The rituals were performed virtually from Toronto by Pujya Gunsagar Swami, Head Swami of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto in the presence of senior Swamis of BAPS from India & North America.
The event was webcast live from the new Mandir site. Over 2,100 families consisting of devotees, community leaders, friends, and well-wishers from across Canada and around the world participated in the ceremony virtually from their homes. The traditional rituals involved laying the foundation stone, blessing the project with Vedic rituals and prayers for peace and well-being throughout the community, province and the country.
By the grace of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and with the inspiration and guidance of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, swamis started doing vicharan from the year 2000 in Alberta. The weekly satsang assembliles started in 2005. In 2007, Pramukh Swami Maharaj instructed Calgary's devotees to search for suitable land to build a mandir. The rest, as they say, is history. In 2013, few devotees started regular satsang activities along with children and women's activities. Satsang flourished with the blessings of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and theregular visits of swamis and senior swamis.
Messages of congratulations and well-wishes to the community on this historic occasion were received from many dignitaries including Premier Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta and Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of the City of Calgary.
"BAPS Swaminarayan community are model citizens who give back far more than they take, and we are so blessed as Albertans to have your community growing and thriving in our midst," said Premier Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta.
"As you lay this foundation stone, you're not just laying the foundation for a building. You are laying the foundation for another chapter in the lives of the community. And this temple will stand for generations," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of the City of Calgary.
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj also sent blessings from India for this auspicious occasion saying, "The Shilanyas Vidhi is being completed in Calgary, a place that is extremely cold. All of the devotees are giving their all - physically, mentally and financially for this mandir. They will continue to do this seva and ensure that the Mandir is completed. The Shilanyas ceremony is happening now, but only when the mandir will be completed will everyone be satisfied. Such is the faith, devotion and love of the devotees…and everyone will experience profound happiness."
With the inspiration of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the blessings of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Calgary will facilitate activities and events for young and old alike, including children and youth activities, language classes and traditional music classes, to preserve Hindu traditions, heritage and spiritual values. As a place of harmony it will welcome people of all faiths to experience and understand Hindu traditions and spirituality. Humanitarian activities and events will also be organized to support the community.