The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Southend-on-Sea celebrated its 10th anniversary with a three-day event filled with devotion and inspiration.
The festivities began on Thursday 15 May with a delightful evening of devotional singing.
On Saturday 17 May, the Mahila Mandal held their own celebrations with a programme that began with the abhishek of Nilkanth Varni Maharaj, followed by bhajans and an entertaining drama. Young balikas delivered a heart-felt poem about what the Mandir means to them, while members of the Yuvati and Sanyukta Mandal delivered thought-provoking speeches about the need for mandirs in helping to preserve culture and faith in society. The evening concluded with traditional garba.
The main day of the celebrations on Sunday 18 May was the busiest, with hundreds attending throughout the day. The evening began with a Vedic mahapuja for the local devotees. This was followed by kirtans, an eye-opening drama, multimedia presentations, and inspiring discourses from Satyavratdas Swami and Anandpriyadas Swami.
Devotees also reminisced the auspicious day in 2004 when Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed the pratishtha ceremony of the murtis for the new mandir in Southend-on-Sea.
Amee Desai, one of the volunteers at the Mandir, shared: “What a wonderful three days these have been. It has really brought Hindus in the local community together and reinforced how much this mandir means to everyone, how much it has given back to us all in these last 10 years, not just to us individually, but spiritually and as families and to society as a whole.”
The conclusion of the celebrations saw the local devotees reaffirming their commitment to the future of the Mandir as a place of worship, charity and community cohesion.