ISKCON devotees from around the world gathered at the newly constructed Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarakadish Temple in Triolet, on the island of Mauritius, for its grand opening in late November.
Special guests included Mauritius GBC representatives Bhakti Chaitanya Swami and B.B. Govinda Swami, as well as Swamis Navayogendra, Bhakti Vishrambha Madhava, and Vedavyas Priya. Other notable Srila Prabhupada disciples in attendance were Deena Bandhu Dasa of ISKCON Vrindavan, installation priest Gaur Keshava Dasa, ISKCON Mauritius temple president Sriniketan Das, and Baroda, India temple president Basu Ghosh Das.
They joined devotees from ISKCON Mauritius’ two other temples, as well as hundreds of congregational devotees from all over the island.
Festivities began on Friday November 27 as Gaur Keshava performed installation rituals such as Vastu Puja and Jal Adhivas, and local devotees performed public chanting at a nearby location.
As Saturday was the auspicious occasion of Gita Jayanti—the day when Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna—Bhakti Vishrambha Madhava Swami led a full recitation of all 700 verses of the holy book in the large, new temple room, glittering with huge golden chandeliers.
On both Friday and Saturday nights, Navayogendra Swami delivered his well-loved lectures on the Srimad-Bhagavatam in a pandal, or tent, erected next to the temple. Visiting senior devotees then addressed the assembled congregation, B.B. Govinda Swami inspiring many with his praise of Mauritius’ devotionally-minded people.
By Sunday, the excitement had escalated to a fervent level, as Rukmini-Dwarkadish, Prahlad-Ugra Nrisimha, Sri Nathji and Srila Prabhupada were installed in their new temple. While B.B. Govinda Swami led an epic two-hour kirtan, priests performed the Netra Unmilanam, or “Opening of the Eyes,” ceremony.
A procession then made its way around the temple parading Kalashas, or brass urns, representing each deity. This was followed by an Abhisekh, or bathing ceremony, after which all the deities were dressed and decorated, and then received their first arati offering performed by three of the visiting Swamis.
Present for the inaugural arati and prasadam feast afterwards was Mauritius Government Minister Sri Anil Kumar Bachoo, who addressed the assembled devotees in a packed temple room. Bhakti Chaitanya Swami also spoke, praising the efforts of Mukta Purush Dasa, who had overseen the construction of the new temple and personally funded the entire project. His dedication, the Swami said, was an important example for the people of Mauritius.
The President of the Republic of Mauritius, His Excellency Sir Anirudh Jagannath, had been unable to attend the installation due to engagements in India. At a meeting at his presidential residence with Navayogendra Swami, Basu Ghosh Dasa and Mukta Purush Dasa earlier, however, he expressed his happiness about the construction of the new temple and agreed to visit it on an auspicious day in the future.
More photos of the installation may be viewed at: http://picasaweb.google.com/basughoshdas1/InaugurationFestivalMauritius#