BAPS traces its roots to 18th century and was established in 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj. According to its website, it has more than 3,850 centers all over the world.
The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, popularly called BAPS, opened a new Hindu temple in Chantilly, Virginia, on September 16. The organization also conducted the Murti Pratistha Vidhi (idol installation ceremony) on the auspicious day.
The new idols were first worshipped before installation on September 10 by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj in Edison, New Jersey. On September 16, with several hundred attendees participating in the Mahapuja event (to perform sacred rituals), Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, a senior swami of BAPS, performed the final ceremony amid chanting of Vedic Shlokas.
Delegates John Bell (D-VA) and Jennifer Boysko (D-VA) graced the ceremony. Bell pointed out the importance of diversity and community-based activities such as the BAPS’, the organization’s press statement said. Staff members of Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) also attended the event.
The temple premises will serve several functions including that of community center for religious studies, music classes, language classes, festival celebrations, folk dances, musical performances and other community activities. It would also complement local charities by coordinating activities such as health fairs, blood drives, and walkathons.
The statement by the organization said the aim of promoting community activities through the temple is that the “future generations can be anchored in their faith and spirituality, and continue to strive and grow as good citizens while retaining valuable traditions and culture.”
BAPS traces its roots in the 18th century and was established in 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj. According to its website, it has more than 3,850 centers all over the world and has received several awards for its social work. The socio-spiritual Hindu organization has more than one million followers. The devotees have to adhere to five vows throughout life – no alcohol, no additions, no adultery, no meat, no impurity of body and mind.