The Jain Society of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. (JSMW) conducted a Bhoomi Poojan on its recently acquired land in Beltsville, Maryland.

According to Jain culture, Bhoomi Pooja, which involves the worship of Mother Earth, is performed before the start of construction. The ritual is done to ask permission and to get good will and assistance.

The Bhoomi Pooja had special significance as JSMW is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their current temple Pratistha on Briggs Chaney Road. The Bhoomi Poojan marked the beginning of their journey to build the new Shikharbandhi Jinalaya.  

The auspicious ceremony on the new land started with Aahavaan to Adhisthayak Devi Devta, followed by the first ever Snatra Pooja (celebration of two of the auspicious events occurring in the life of God) performed by Dr. Gita and Kamlesh Shah.

Khestrapal Poojan (worship of the guardian angel) was performed by the family of Sudhir and Dharini Khona and by Pavan and Minal Zaveri’s family. This was followed by the Vastu Poojan by Shilpa and Paresh Shah’s family.

The constant chanting of mantras with the voices of hundreds of devotees filled the atmosphere.

Then, the main Bhoomi Poojan was performed by 27 families, along with Bhoomi Shuddhi, or purification of the land, by 61 kids. The 27 families will receive a commemorative silver-plated thali and two kalash to mark the event.

The event concluded with Aarti, Mangal Divo and Shanti Kalash. After the ceremony, everyone enjoyed a meal comprising cuisine from four regions of India — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and the South.

JSMW president Paresh Shah said, “The Bhoomi Poojan event marks the beginning of a vision unfolding. I am very proud to see the start of a great journey towards the building of a new temple and the strength of a great society with it.

“This event could not have been possible without the help of all the JSMW volunteers; thank you very much for all your help and dedication. For the kids, this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and a memory of a wonderful start to the new temple.”