Clad in emerald green kurta and white pyjamas, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau performed pooja at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto and said how deeply Canada values the “special” relationship with India.
Trudeau, who wore sandals as he often had to go barefoot while rituals were in progress at the temple on Saturday, was accompanied by the spiritual guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan sanstha, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj.
He said he wanted to “recognise the importance of the bond between Canada and India. The more than one million Canadians of Indian origin have made countless contributions to our national fabric.”
The event served as an outreach by the premier to the Hindu community in Canada, and two federal cabinet ministers, Navdeep Bains and Kirsty Duncan, were present.
“I myself have great memories of my many meetings with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi,” said Trudeau, who recently met his Indian counterpart on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg.
When the temple was originally consecrated in 2007, the inauguration celebration had featured Trudeau’s predecessor Stephen Harper.
In fact, he pointed out, as travellers arrive at Canada’s largest airport, Toronto’s Pearson International, this temple is among the first landmarks they see.
He pointed out that the temple, which was constructed without the use of steel, was built “according to principles outlined in ancient Hindu scripture. It is without a doubt one of Canada’s architectural wonders with its intricate stone and wood carvings.”
The temple is considered Canada’s first traditional Hindu place of worship.
The Canadian PM also pointed out the temple’s dashabdi or 10th anniversary coincides with Canada’s the 150th year of Confederation.