A historic foundation stone-laying ceremony of a new Hindu temple being constructed by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha – an international socio-spiritual organisation affiliated to the UN — was held in Bussy-Saint-Georges near Paris, France, on September 3 and 4.
Yann Dubosc, mayor of Bussy-Saint-Georges; His Excellency (HE) Jawed Ashraf, ambassador of India to the Republic of France and Principality of Monaco; Ylias Akbaraly, chairman and CEO of the Groupe Sipromad and president of the Board of Thomson were present on the occasion besides hundreds of guests from various parts of France and other European countries, and India.
Europe’s first traditional purpose-built temple is being constructed at the Esplanade des religions et des cultures – the multi-faith and multicultural heartland of Paris. It will promote culture, integrity, and harmony.
Paris is home to some of the world’s most iconic monuments and beautiful buildings.
The new temple, described as an “architectural masterpiece”, will supplement the rich array of architectural beauty and artistic expression, and become an ambassador of Indian culture and wisdom, bringing the ancient art and science of traditional Indian architecture to the country.
The ancient Vedic ceremony signified the start of the temple’s construction. It was accompanied with a vibrant cultural programme of dance, videos, and presentations delivered in French and Hindi which explained the positive and uplifting contribution that the temple will make to France.
HE Ashraf said while addressing the assembly, “This magnificent temple makes Paris part of the global network of cities that can boast of a BAPS Swaminarayan temple. The temple will not only serve as a place of worship but will be a living centre of learning, humanity, culture, and a centre that provides refuge to all who feel a sense of despair and despondency. The temple will shape a future of peace, harmony, co-existence – not just of tolerance but the embrace of diversity and pluralism that makes this world so beautiful.”
Dubosc said, “There are projects that mark a life. This mandir is one such project. In my time on earth as mayor, I will be able to tell my daughter that I have participated in the building of a remarkable place of worship! Prior to this, I did not know anything about Hinduism, but with you, I have discovered this light that enlightens humanity. There is nothing more essential in our time. May the Bussy Mandir help to enlighten humanity and reveal the best in each of us.”
Akbaraly offered his gratitude to the French administration for supporting the temple and said that he felt “happiness and peace in his heart on this special day in France”.
He also spoke of the noble values of peace, respect, love, and humility that the temple will inspire and how its activities such as education and de-addiction will inspire noble and purposeful lives.
Sanjay Kara, project lead for the temple’s construction, added, “Temples in India have sustained and nurtured noble values for millennia. We are honoured for the opportunity to continue that legacy in the beautiful city of Paris and fulfil this vision of intercultural respect, community service and global harmony – ideals propagated by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS.”