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‘Deeply honoured’: Sole Kiwi-Indian invited to Ayodhya

Guna Magesan

Guna Magesan, the organiser of a transformative two-week pilgrimage to Ayodhya in March 2024, shares his excitement about the upcoming spiritual journey and his unique role as the sole invitee from New Zealand to the inauguration of Maryada Purshottam Shri Ram Temple in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya on January 22, 2024.

Magesan is President of Hindu Council of New Zealand, the oldest Hindu organisation in the country; and he was recently engaged in organising World Hindu Congress 2023 in Thailand. He shared with The Indian Weekender updated plans for the upcoming two-week pilgrimage, from March 15 to March 28.

The itinerary includes visits to sacred sites like Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi, Sarnath, Brindavan, Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Prayagraj, interactions with esteemed spiritual figures like Sadhvi Ritambhara and Baba Ramdev, and participation in significant events like Holi celebrations and press meets in Rishikesh and Varanasi.

"With meticulous planning, we've crafted an itinerary with low cost (not for profit basis) that not only visits sacred places but also fosters meaningful connections with spiritual leaders. It's about creating an experience that goes beyond sightseeing, allowing participants to connect with their Dharma truly," says Magesan.

With a target of 25 to 30 participants, the pilgrimage has already received confirmations from eight people. Magesan notes the substantial interest from others inquiring about associated costs.

“Estimated expenses in India, encompassing local travel, accommodation, and meals, are approximately INR 70,000-75,000, equivalent to less than NZ$1,500. Plus international travel from New Zealand to India will be around $2000-2500 depending on the time of booking. Anticipation is high, and an oversubscription is expected upon the formal release of programme details.”

On being asked about his thoughts on being the exclusive invitee from New Zealand to the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22, he says, "As a community volunteer for more than 25 years and the current President of the Hindu Council of New Zealand and my involvement in organising the World Hindu Congress, I feel deeply honoured to represent New Zealand at this historic event."

Expressing his thrill and profound honour at receiving a personal invitation from Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, Magesan says, “To be among the chosen 7,000 invitees out of 1.4 billion Hindus worldwide is an unparalleled honour, a true blessing that fills me with immense gratitude. Representing New Zealand on this momentous occasion is an achievement I hold in the highest regard.

“The realisation of this mandir in our lifetime is an extraordinary blessing. Bearing witness to this historic event stirs emotions that transcend words, echoing the sentiments of Hindu devotees across the globe.”

As January 22 approaches, spiritual fervour is building, promising an extraordinary journey for participants and marking a pivotal moment in India’s rich cultural and religious heritage, says Magesan.

"The inauguration of the Shri Ram Temple in Ayodhya holds immense religious, cultural, and emotional significance for the people of Bharat, particularly for the Hindu community, and marks a pivotal moment in the country’s history and heritage.”

Shri Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha Mahotsav Committee New Zealand has been formed in Auckland, and a massive public programme is being organised in Eden Park on Sunday, January 21, 2024. Similarly, celebrations are organised in various temples in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hindu Heritage Centre in Rotorua.

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