On Thursday, Prince Charles joined Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among other leaders, to mark the 25th anniversary of the first Hindu temple in the western hemisphere, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London.
In its 25 years, the temple has become a centre for community events and service, worship, and festivals. In the borough of Brent, the temple has been visited by several world leaders including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.Embed from Getty Images
The Prince issued a video message recalling his visit to the temple with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall:
“The first of its kind outside India, Neasden Temple serves the local community as a place of worship, learning, celebration, peace and community service.”
The Prince went on to add: “It has given me immense pride to learn of the way in which the Hindu community, including such a large number of BAPS volunteers, have been so active in their support for those in need – providing thousands of hot meals and assistance for the elderly and most vulnerable.”
The temple broke ground in July 1991 when almost 3,000 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone was shipped to India along with 1,200 tonnes of Italian Carrara marble. The stones were then coded, packed, and sent off on their final 6,300 journey to London. The largest piece weighed 5.6 tonnes, and the smallest weighed 50 grams. Assembled like a 3D puzzle, the stones were assembled in two and a half years.
Prime Minister Modi tweeted:
“Neasden Temple marks its silver jubilee. The Temple has been at the forefront of many community service initiatives. It has brought people together and inspired them to work for humanity. When I was Gujarat CM, I had the honour of visiting the temple.”
The Gujarat CM is the chief executive of the government of the Indian state of Gujarat.