A group of about 100 Kishores and Kishoris from East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) embarked on the journey of a lifetime—a chance to explore India's culture and sacred landscapes firsthand. From 11th to 27th December, 2014, the delegates traversed over 1000 miles within India. The trip helped reinforce the delegates’ personal Satsang and gave them a deeper understanding of Hindu traditions. The theme of the trip was “Mandiram.” Highlights of the trip included time spent in the presence of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj and a Satsang Shibir entitled "Brahmvidhyani College."
The delegates commenced their journey in New Delhi with a visit to Swaminarayan Akshardham and other places in the India's capital city for 2 days and then the Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar. The distinctive culture and traditions of Hinduism were explored at Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar and Delhi where everyone enjoyed the fabulous ‘Sat-Chit-Anand’ and ‘Sahaj Anand’ water shows.
Upon completing their yatra of Delhi and Gandhinagar, the delegates arrived in Sarangpur to attend a 5 day-long shibir “Brahmvidyani College” filled with enlightening and inspiring discourses delivered by sadhus. The delegates learned the principles of Akshar Purushottam philosophy through the multitude of sessions and workshop. Sessions with senior sadhus gave an insight into a variety of topics related to the concepts and practices of Satsang and Hinduism. As part of the Shibir, the participants also engaged themselves in a variety of daily seva activities. In addition, throughout the Shibir, the delegates were fortunate to have darshan of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Thereafter, they commenced a mandir-yatra, or tour of mandirs, throughout the state of Gujarat, covering over 20 mandirs. Two sadhus from Sarangpur joined with kishores in this yatra. Brief assemblies were organized at various mandirs where sadhus shared the background and history of that particular mandir. The participants also had the opportunity to perform the abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni at numerous mandirs.
Through this phase of the trip the delegates were able to gain a deeper understanding of the history of BAPS. In addition to the mandir, the delegates also spent considerable time with local devotees seeing first-hand how Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s message continues to transform lives and inspire individuals regardless of their nationality, gender, or age. The delegates were humbled by the affection and consideration they experienced when they met with local devotees.
Overall, the seventeen-day journey enlightened and enriched all the members of the group who learnt a great deal about the traditions, culture and heritage of India, the history of BAPS, the fundamental principles of Satsang and how to practically apply them in their lives. The trip inspired delegates to strengthen their personal relationship with Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. They returned home spiritually reinvigorated, taking with them messages of the Shibir as well as memories to last a lifetime.