Hindu spiritual leader weighed against pile of gold in unusual temple opening ceremony (From This Is Lancashire)
Hindu spiritual leader weighed against pile of gold in unusual temple opening ceremony
A HINDU temple in Bolton hosted a ceremony worth its weight in gold.
The final part of the grand reopening of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Deane Road saw the temple’s worldwide spiritual leader “weighed against pure gold bullion”.
His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Purushottampriyadasji Swamishree Maharaj flew to Bolton from Ahmedabad to oversee the temple’s re-opening, which included an inter-faith event, earlier this month attended by local dignitaries.
Gold bullion was hired for the ceremony, which was attended by more than 1,400 people and staged to recognise the good work done by HH Acharya Swamishree Maharaj.
The temple asked for donations to fund various charitable missions around the world, not necessarily restricted to solely Hindu communities, and raised more than £2 million.
“Donations have been arriving by the thousands,” said Ken Naran, aged 50, the temple’s treasurer.
“This is a very unusual event and we had visitors from all over the world.
“We have only around 300 followers, so it was a real squeeze to fit everyone in but it went very well in the end.”
Many of the Deane Road temple’s members made generous donations, but crucial to raising such a huge sum were contributions made from overseas.
“His Holiness is in a position where he cannot be conventionally recognised, say like a knighthood, because of his faith,” explained Mr Naran.
“This was a great way to pay tribute to the outstanding his work.”
Among the spiritual leader’s selfless acts were personal visits to scenes of natural disasters, including a trip to South East Asia after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 to make an individual donation.
The Deane Road temple has undergone a £2.5 million redevelopment, which saw its main service room and new community facilities built.
They bought their current home, which was formerly a church, in 1998, while the community’s activity in Bolton dates back to 1971.
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