In August 1995, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurated BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – bringing to fruition years of sacrifice and devotion for thousands of worshippers and well-wishers.
Following a year of inspiring festivities to mark the 20th anniversary of this momentous occasion, including the grand finale celebrations on 22 and 23 August 2015, the traditional patotsav was devoutly observed at the Mandir in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Mahant Swami (Keshavjivan Swami), Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, Pujya Atmaswarup Swami, and visiting sadhus from India.
Throughout its 20 years, the Mandir has fostered a profound sense of peace for visitors and the wider community. A mahapuja praising God and seeking his blessings for continued peace and prosperity in the world was held on Sunday 6 September 2015. A short assembly was organised thereafter where Mahant Swami alluded to the historical significance of mahapuja ceremonies.
The patotsav – marking the anniversary of the Mandir’s opening and the Hindu calendric day (Shravan vad 10) that its murtis were first infused with the divine presence of God – was held on the morning of Monday 7 September 2015.
The festivities included an opportunity for devotees and visitors to bathe the murti of Thakorji. A variety of sweet and savoury dishes were also artistically arranged before the deities in the main shrines as an offering of thanksgiving.
A special assembly was held later in the evening which began with kirtans extolling the spiritual significance of a mandir. A collection of treasured memories at the Mandir over the past 20 years was fondly revived through emotive video presentations and discourses from sadhus.
Atmaswarup Swami shared accounts of the positive impact that the Mandir has inspired in the lives of many individuals over the years and also spoke in detail about Swamishri’s affection for the devotees of London.
Ishwarcharan Swami concluded the evening’s celebrations by encouraging individuals and families to make the most of the Mandir in strengthening their devotion to God.