On the occasion of Neasden Temple’s silver jubilee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the temple has been at the forefront of many community service initiatives and it has inspired people to work for humanity. The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London is the first Hindu temple in the western hemisphere that has now become a centre of community events, worship and festivals over the years.
Taking to Twitter, PM Modi posted pictures of his visit to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as the Neasden Temple. “Neasden Temple marks its silver jubilee. The Temple has been at the forefront of many community service initiatives. It has brought people together and inspired them to work for humanity,” PM Modi tweeted.
“When I was Gujarat CM, I had the honour of visiting the Temple. #Neasdentemple25 #LM25,” he added.
Inaugurated on August 20, 1995, the temple in Neasden in the borough of Brent has been visited by several world leaders, including former US President Jimmy Carter.
Prince Charles joined British MPs, charity organisations and others to mark the 25th anniversary of the temple.
Prince Charles issued a video message, recalling visiting the temple with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, during festivals. He said: “The first of its kind outside India, Neasden Temple serves the local community as a place of worship, learning, celebration, peace and community service”.
According to the temple’s history, its ground-breaking ceremony was held in July 1991, as almost 3,000 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone were shipped 3,900 miles to India along with 1,200 tonnes of Italian Carrara marble, which made its own journey of 4,800 miles. With a further 900 tonnes of Indian Ambaji marble, the over 5,000 tonnes of stone was hand-carved by more than 1,500 skilled artisans at 14 different sites around India into 26,300 pieces.
MPs Dawn Butler and Gareth Thomas (both Labour) and Bob Blackman (Conservative) were among those hailing the anniversary of the temple, where leading politicians invariably join ‘arti’ and other rituals before elections to seek support of the community.