A grand two-day celebration was held on 31 January and 1 February 2009 to mark the Silver Jubilee of the BAPS Swaminarayan Chhatralay at Atladara,Vadodara. The 25th Anniversary took place during the Vasant Panchmi Festival in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
An entertaining program packed with motivation and sweet memories was meticulously planned by the sadhus and students and truly inspired all who attended. Many of the of past students had come from different parts of India as well as from USA and Australia to celebrate the last 25 years of the BAPS Chhatralay in which they had enriched their lives with values of Discipline, Dedication, Determination and Faith in God. These students have now built successful careers for themselves and are well-settled with young families.
Beginning in 1983 with less than 30 students, the Atladara Chhatralay was, in fact, the first ever inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Since then, it has developed gradually with an annual intake of over 150 students living in a modern purpose-built campus just across the road from the BAPS Mandir.
The Silver Jubilee Celebrations were held over three sessions in which past and present students shared their experiences of Chhatralay life. Over the last 25 years, 19 of the past students have now become sadhus and they also attended the celebrations to share their inspirations with the students. The students themselves had prepared light-hearted skits and meaningful debates on various topics that also showed how to balance studies with satsang. The sessions were capped with inspiring talks from Mahant Swami, Dr Swami and Viveksagar Swami on topics such as character-building, cultural values and hard work.
One of the special guests over the two days was Dr Kamlesh Lulla, the Chief Scientist and Deputy Director of NASA in Houston, USA. He was accompanied by his elder brother and a supporter of the Chhatralay, Shri Hargovind Lulla, who manages Lulla Classes in Vadodara.
The Chief Guest of the event was the Vice-Chancellor of M.S. University, Dr Rameshchandra Goyal, who emphasized the need of sacred knowledge as an integral part in molding the lives of students. He further mentioned that the BAPS Swaminarayan Chhatralay caters for the all-round development of youngsters and he hoped that many more organizations would follow such an example.
The Silver Jubilee Celebrations concluded in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj who has selflessly inspired, encouraged and guided hundreds of students towards higher values throughout the last 25 years. The students performed a colorful and energetic traditional folk dance, and a drama on how to avoid the evil influences of kusang. Some of the students participated in a special gazal dedicated to Swamishri. All the programs were written by Yogendra Swami. A special Silver Jubilee Suvarna Tula of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj was held in which all the students were able to offer their dedication and devotion.
The Silver Jubilee Celebrations brought together old and young students who have shared a common experience over the past 25 years. The event itself was a memory to cherish for a lifetime.