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.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets people as he visits the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Hindu temple. (AP)
“The relationship between our two countries is truly a special one. It’s a relationship our government and our ministers both deeply value and actively cultivate,” Trudeau said at an event to celebrate the temple’s 10th anniversary, which was attended by more than 7,500 devotees.

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.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor John Tory (left) at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir to celebrate the temple’s 10th anniversary. (AP)
Trudeau participated in the abhishek ceremony in the main temple and also the aarti officiated over by the mahant. At one point, he turned to the guru and said, “Please keep Canada in your prayers.”

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.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Hindu temple in Mississauga, Ontario on Saturday. (AP)
Also present were over half-a-dozen MPs, as well as ministers of the provincial Government of Ontario. It also featured Toronto Mayor John Tory and India’s high commissioner to Ottawa Vikas Swarup.

“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.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as he visits the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. (AP)
Trudeau, who started his remarks with “Jai Swaminarayan” and then a “kemcho”, said the temple perfectly represents “modern, diverse Canada.”

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.

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