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The new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Leicester has been conferred the Good Lighting Award by the British Astronomical Association (BAA) for its use of responsible, efficient, and “sky-friendly” night-time lighting.

This is the first time the award was being presented to a place of worship anywhere in the UK.

Presenting the award to Kirit Patel, lead coordinator of the Mandir, was the BAA’s Bob Mizon MBE and Leicester-based fellow committee member Martin Morgan-Taylor, who is also the Vice-President of the International Dark-Sky Association.

The Campaign for Dark Skies aims to preserve and restore the beauty of the night sky by working against overly bright and poorly directed lighting that shines where it is not wanted or needed.

Mr Morgan-Taylor commented that he was particularly impressed at how the project team had managed to take traditional Hindu temple architecture and blend it with modern technology to create both function and beauty. In particular, the committee paid tribute to the lighting of the shikhars (spires) and domes of the Mandir, which highlighted their intricate form without overspill into the night sky.

On seeing the low-voltage LED lighting and energy-saving motion-sensor switches used around the Mandir complex, Mr Mizon added that the streetlights of the future would soon be adopting the same sort of technology.

Kirit Patel shared that he was “delighted to be receiving this award on behalf of everyone associated with the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Leicester”, adding that “environmental issues are very important to us as Hindus and citizens of the earth.”

To learn more about the British Astronomical Association and its Campaign for Dark Skies, please follow the respective links.

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