Mayor of Toronto, Mr. John Tory, visited Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi to experience India’s ageless beauty, borderless culture and timeless values. Accompanying the Mayor’s delegation was Economic Development Committee Chair and Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson and newly elected Toronto City Councillor Neethan Shan.
On behalf of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj – Spiritual Head of Swaminarayan Akshardham and BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha – senior sadhus traditionally welcomed Mayor Tory and delegation with a garland of flowers, tilaka (vermillion powder) and the tying of the sacred kalva (sacred thread).
After admiring the Mayur Dwar (Peacock Gate), Mayor Tory visited the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir where they witnessed the world’s ‘Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple’. They offered their respects and admired the Mandir’s art and architecture.
Mayor Tory visited the Gajendra Pithika (Elephant Plinth) that includes 148 life-sized carved stone elephants depicting message of social harmony, peace and spirituality.
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.
Thereafter, the delegation from Toronto experienced the educational exhibition Sanskruti Vihar – a cultural voyage that sails through 10,000 years of India’s glorious heritage, highlighting India’s contributions to humanity through the ages.
Sharing his sentiments at Akshardham, Mayor John Tory wrote, “I am honoured once again to visit the Akshardham in Delhi and to offer my respect and affection to the BAPS Swaminarayan friends with thanks for your message of peace and humility and for the great contributions you made in Toronto and around the world. The Akshardham is a magnificent as ever.”