A church in Virginia, US is all set to be converted into a temple after being purchased by the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. The pran pratistha (consecration) ceremony for the idols wil be done once the church is completely revamped into a temple.
Bhagwatpriyadas Swami, the mahant of Ahmedabad based Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan told TOI that the Church was acquired to be refurbished into a temple. “Not many changes would be mandated in the church at Portsmouth, as it was already a spiritual place of another faith. This would be the first temple for Haribhakts in Virginia,” Bhagwatpriyadas Swami said.
According to sources, Virginia is home to an estimated 10,000 Gujarati speaking Indians who adhere to Swaminarayan sect. The church is spread over five acres with 18,000 sq feet built up. It has a large parking place that can accommodate 150 four-wheelers. The church was bought at an estimated cost of $ 1.6 million.
It is the sixth church in the US and the ninth across the world to be turned into a Swaminarayan temple by Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan based in Maninagar, Ahmedabad.
Apart from Virginia, churches in California, Luiseville, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles and Ohio in the US have been transformed into temples by the sect. Similarly in the UK, two churches have been coverted into temples in London and Bolton near Manchester. The sect has also acquired a 125-year-old property in Toronto, Canada.
(With inputs from agencies)