An eleven-day celebration was held to commemorate the 10th patotsav (anniversary) of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bhavnagar
19-24 May: Discourses on ‘Family Unity’
Adarshjivan Swami presented nightly discourses addressing the issues facing modern-day families, and revealing the path towards family unity prescribed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
On the final day, Pujya Viveksagar Swami also addressed the assembly. Over 6,000 devotees attended the discourses.
25 May: Women’s Day
Based on the theme of obeying the guru’s agna, balikas and yuvatis joined senior women to present an inspiring programme featuring speeches, skits, dances and videos. Present for the assembly were Vibhavariben Dave (member of the Gujarat State Parliament) and Mayor Nimuben Bambhania.
26 May: Children’s Day
A delightful shishu (very young children) assembly was presented and an inspiring drama highlighting the sincere observance of niyams, progress in studies and service to society by the BAPS children of Bhavnagar was performed.
In conclusion, Pujya Ghanshyamcharan Swami addressed the assembly.
27 May: Jal Yatra
Devotees collected water from the holy River Ghela in Gadhada sanctified by Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The water was then carried by kavad (pitchers balanced on the ends of a wooden stick) to Sarangpur. There, this water was mixed with water sanctified by bathing Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and the water of 1,000 sacred rivers. The holy water was then carried by kavad to Bhavnagar. In Bhavnagar, the sanctified water was taken in a grand procession comprising of 67 themed, decorative floats through the main streets. Thousands of devotees and well-wishers joyously participated in this procession. This water would be used for the abhishek ceremony on the day of the 10th patotsav.
A kirtan aradhana was performed in the evening.
27-28 May: Appreciation Assemblies
Special assemblies were held to appreciate the significant contributions of karyakars and devotees during the mandir construction. Some of them had now moved away from Bhavnagar and were specially invited for this celebration.
28 May: Yagna for World Peace
A total of 1,448 yajmans participated in the Vedic Yagna for World Peace, which began at 5.00 a.m. in the auspicious brahma muhurt. Under the guidance of Shrutiprakash Swami, experienced Brahmins led the devotees through the yagna rituals.
The special youth assembly was titled ‘Thank You, Swamibapa’ and expressed gratitude to Pramukh Swami Maharaj for gifting society with pious youths of noble character. Pujya Mahant Swami and Pujya Doctor Swami were also present on this occasion and guided the youths with their words of wisdom.
29 May: 10th Patotsav
In the early morning, the senior sadhus performed the patotsav abhishek of the murtis. Thereafter, other sadhus and devotees also offered abhishek to the murtis. The sanctified water previously brought to Bhavnagar by kavad was used for this ritual.
At 9.30 a.m., the patotsav mahapuja was performed by the senior sadhus and 150 devotees.
At 11.00 a.m. a grand annakut and arti was offered to Thakorji in the main mandir.
10th Anniversary Celebration Assembly
At 7.30 p.m. the main celebration assembly began in the presence of 250 sadhus and 10,000 devotees. The platform at the front of the Pramukh Swami Prarthana Hall was used as the stage, at the centre of which was a 50 by 10 ft. LED screen.
The assembly focused on four topics. The first topic was Prarambh – The Beginning. Through a drama and a speech by Pujya Viveksagar Swami, this section described how Bhagwan and the guru parampara had initiated satsang in Bhavnagar.
The second topic was Purusharth – Effort. This part paid tribute to the tremendous hard work of the devotees of Bhavnagar in their commitment to fulfil Swamishri’s vision for a shikharbaddh mandir in Bhavnagar.
The third topic was Pratishtha – Prestige. In the ten years since its opening, the BAPS Mandir has gained much respect and prestige throughout the city. As a result the chairman of Bhavnagar’s Standing Committee, Shri Sureshbhai Dhandhalia, declared that the main street on which the BAPS Mandir (also known locally as ‘Aksharvadi Mandir’) is situated, would from now be officially renamed as ‘Aksharvadi Road’.
The fourth and final topic was Prerak – Inspiration. This section of the assembly highlighted the continuous inspiration and outstanding guidance of Swamishri during the construction of the mandir. Pujya Doctor Swami then spoke on this topic.
Thereafter, an excellent video compilation of the events and celebrations held during Swamishri’s numerous visits to Bhavnagar was shown.
The celebration assembly concluded with the blessings of Pujya Mahant Swami.