A 30-year-old church in Portsmouth, Virginia, in the United States, is all set to be converted into a Swaminarayan Temple. According to a Times of India report, the prana pratistha (consecration) ceremony for the idols will be done once the church is revamped as a temple.
The church was acquired under the guidance of Purshottampriyadas Swami, the spiritual head of the Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, based in Maninagar, Ahmadabad. Apart from Virginia, churches in California, Luiseville, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles and Ohio in the US have been transformed into temples by the Sansthan. The church is reportedly 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. Similarly, in the UK, two churches have been converted into temples in London and Bolton near Manchester. The sect has also acquired a 125-year-old property in Toronto, Canada.
“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,” said, Bhagwatpriyadas Swami, the mahant of the sansthan.