On the final day of his three-day visit to India for the G20 Summit, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty took time out for a more personal and devotional visit to the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi before heading back to London.
During his visit, the British Hindu leader was given an overview of Swaminarayan Akshardham – a 100-acre spiritual and cultural complex that portrays the traditions and ancient architecture of India and promotes the timeless Hindu spiritual messages of faith, devotion and harmony. Inside the temple, the couple paid their respects to the sacred images (darshan) and admired the art and architecture before offering their personal prayers in the inner sanctum.
After puja (prayers) at the temple, Sunak reflected: “We were amazed and awed by the beauty of this temple and its universal message of peace, harmony, and becoming a better human being. This is not only a place of worship, but a landmark that also portrays India’s values, culture and contributions to the world.
“We see today in Britain these very same values and culture through the positive contributions the British Indian community makes to our country.
At the temple, the couple were welcomed in a traditional Hindu manner symbolising goodwill and friendship. The UK PM was then greeted by swamis, as well as senior leaders from Neasden Temple in London, including Trustee Sanjay Kara and BAPS General Secretary Ritesh Gadhia. They relayed a special message on behalf of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS.
His Holiness had extended his personal wishes and prayers for him and the other delegates: “In the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family), we pray for you and all the attendees: May the summit be a resounding success in collectively helping the whole world towards peace, righteous prosperity, and global harmony.”
Sanjay Kara shared: “It was an honour to welcome the Prime Minister to Swaminarayan Akshardham and share His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s message of peace, unity and public service.
“The UK’s relationship with India is built on a bond of friendship and fostered by cultural exchanges as well as a vibrant Indian diaspora in the UK. We were delighted to strengthen this relationship through this visit.”
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is an international community-based Hindu fellowship affiliated with the United Nations, caring for individuals, families and societies through its more than a million members, 80,000 volunteers and 5,025 centres.
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