Sunday 18 May 2014 saw over 350 devotees congregate at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Luton for the eagerly anticipated 10-year anniversary celebrations. The theme of the celebration was “My Mandir, My Satsang, My Family”.
As the showpiece event of the year-long celebrations, the cultural festival began with a Vedic mahapuja filling the mandir with holy chanting and bringing together young and old in prayer and worship. A delightful annakut of over 150 vegetarian dishes devoutly made by the ladies wing was also offered to the murtis.
The evening sabha continued with blessings and heartfelt wishes sent specially for this occasion by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj as well as Atmaswarupdas Swami and Yogvivekdas Swami from Sarangpur, India.
The audience then witnessed a nostalgic video presentation on the history of Luton Satsang Mandal. Devotees fondly reminisced the auspicious day in 2004 when His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj graced Luton Town to perform the murti pratishtha ceremony and ceremoniously inaugurate the new mandir. The devotion, passion and spirit of service of the elder devotees was also evident for all to see, providing a timely tribute to the sacrifice and endeavour upon which the mandir was built, while also reminding the younger generation of the character that would be required to take forth the mandir into the future.
Following this, a hard-hitting and emotional play performed by the local youth wing portrayed the need for family harmony and how the mandir is instrumental in inspiring such core values.
In his keynote address, Bhaktivallabhdas Swami highlighted the importance of satsang in everyday life, and how the mandir serves as a beacon of Hindu values while also contributing to the local community. This echoed the words of Pramukh Swami Maharaj spoken in 2004 during his inaugural address.
Rameshbhai Shah, lead coordinator of the Luton mandir, concluded proceedings with a vote of thanks to all volunteers past and present who were pivotal in helping to establish and develop the mandir over the last decade. He also shared: “While this last year has been a celebration of past achievements, it is also an opportunity to prepare for an even brighter future of this vibrant, up-and-coming mandir and give back even more to the local community and devotees who make this such an inspiring place in Bedfordshire.”
The Mahila Wing in Luton also celebrated the Mandir’s 10th anniversary with its own inspiring programme on Sunday 1 June 2014. Themed ‘Ye Mandir Mera’, the well-attended evening featured a host of talent, wisdom and devotion. Senior female members shared inspirational personal accounts, after which a series of humorous yet thought-provoking sketches highlighted the incomparable positive role of a mandir for individuals, families and society. This was followed by a classical Indian dance and another energetic dance, before the celebrations concluded with a collective offering of the arti.