Religious rituals, prayers, scripture recitals, cultural and devotional dance performances, Indian bagpipers and a peace parade marked the opening of a new Swaminarayan Gadi Hindu Temple in Chesapeake, Virginia, last month. The inauguration ceremony was performed on July 19 by Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj, the spiritual leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, a worldwide organization dedicated to the progression of spiritual, social and cultural values.
Dignitaries attending to the opening ceremony included Dr. Richard W. West, Mayor of Chesapeake City Council. “I can sense the aura of peace when coming to this place and meeting Acharya Swamishree Maharaj,” he said. “I realize that he is a very special individual and I welcome him and you all to Chesapeake. I have attended many ribbon cutting ceremonies, but nothing is as humbling as the event that I have the honor of seeing today.” A check towards the mayor’s special charity appeal, and another to the Chesapeake Fire and Police Departments was presented by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
The three day event also included a peace procession, through the streets of Chesapeake, featuring the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band, North America’s first and only Indian-American bagpipe band.
During the finale on July 21, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj ceremonially weighed the divine forms of the lord presiding in the temple against pure silver ingots, which represented the donations and pure, innocent prayers of the adherents of this faith for the poor and unfortunate of the region.
In accordance with the ancient Hindu rituals, they were then installed in the main shrine. The entire function was relayed live to thousands globally.