California city amended code for Swaminarayan Mandir, Hindus applauded

Hindus have applauded Chino Hills City Council (California, USA) for reportedly accepting the long-standing request of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir by raising the allowable height limit to 80 feet.

Some portions of the 20-acres Mandir structure are planned to be 78 feet tall, following the BAPS guidelines. This development code amendment will reportedly affect 10 properties in the city. Its portions under 42 feet; like cultural center, mandir, reception hall, priests’ residence; reportedly have already been completed.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended City Council for showing inclusivity and seeking a unity that celebrated diversity.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that despite our seriously different faith traditions, we all should live harmoniously and with mutual trust and make efforts to build a community in diversity.

Chino Hills Swaminarayan Mandir conducts daily aartis and “Nilkanth Varni Abhishek”; weekly Bal-Balika-Kishore-Kishori-Yuvak-Yuvati-Satsang Sabhas besides Bal-Balika Gujarati classes; and annual festivals listed on its website are Makar Sankranti, Vasant Panchami, Holi Fuldolotsav, Swaminarayan-Jayanti/Ram-Navmi, Yogi Jayanti, Guru Purnima, Janmastami, Jal Jhilani, Patotsav, Sharad Punam, Diwali Annakut and Pramukh Swami Janma Jayanti.

Established in 1907, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) with headquarters in Amdavad is “a socio-spiritual Hindu organization with its roots in the Vedas”. Worldwide, it claims to run 3300 centers, 5400 weekly assemblies exclusively for children and 7215 for others, eight hospitals and healthcare clinics treating 415,000 patients annually, 31 educational institutions, tree plantation-water conservation-recycling projects, 800 centers for tribal upliftment, and over 700 mandirs; and has over 800 sadhus and 55000 volunteers.

Considered “one of Southern California’s best kept secrets”, Chino Hills, a Los Angeles suburb, was ranked 8th “Best Place To Live” by Money magazine. It has the sixth highest median household income in the nation and has been ranked as 13th safest place to live in USA. Ed Graham is serving his fifth term as Mayor of Chino Hills, which has 40 parks and over 30 percent of its population is Asian. Michael S. Fleager is City Manager and prominent people/groups associated with it include boxer Danny Lopez, Olympic gold-medalist Leah O’Brien-Amico, American Idol Katrina Darrell, and musical group “A Static Lullaby”.

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