As part of the on-going 20th anniversary celebrations of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, more than 150 children from around the country visited the Mandir in London on Saturday 7 March 2015.
The aim of the excursion was to learn and celebrate its rich history and appreciate the tireless work and dedication of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj in establishing a traditional Hindu place of worship outside of India.
The children were welcomed by sadhus and volunteers in customary Hindu manner by the tying of a nada-chhadi around their wrists.
Sadhus explained the development of spiritual activities prior to the opening of the Mandir and elaborated further on Yogiji Maharaj’s vision to build a shikharbaddha mandir, which was realised by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 1995. They also shared inspiring stories of sacrifice from dedicated volunteers during the construction of the Mandir.
Members of the Board of Trustees as well as architects of the Mandir met the group and encouraged the children to “step up and take care of Swamishri’s wonderful creation”. The children were also addressed by youths who were involved in various fundraising activities for the Mandir when they were of a similar age.
A group exercise provided an opportunity for the young boys and girls to demonstrate their creative and team-building skills where they designed and constructed their own model of a mandir.
A guided tour provided context to the numerous activities London Mandir offers. During the tour, the children also enjoyed a special exhibition portraying Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s numerous visits to the UK.
As a finale, the children gathered at the main steps of the Mandir to collectively perform the arti. Paramseva Swami concluded the day by encouraging all to honour and respect the values that a mandir brings and become involved in the various activities in their own centres as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations.
The experience was a memorable one providing valuable insight and learning as well as energising the children for greater participation.