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The grand three-day Mandir Mahotsav to mark the opening of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lusaka, Zambia, took place in the presence of Pujya Viveksagar Swami and 13 sadhus. Devotees from BAPS centers in Zambia, including Chingola, Kitwe, Ndola, Kabwe, Choma and Livingstone, were joined by devotees from Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa for the inauguration celebrations.

Since 1960, Zambia has been graced and blessed by Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Pragat Brahmaswarup Mahant Swami Maharaj on numerous occasions. With their blessings and the regular visits of BAPS sadhus satsang developed and the need of a mandir arose. Due to Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s inspiration the staunch group of devotees have built a beautiful mandir, together with an assembly hall, a dining hall, and rooms for children and youth assemblies and Gujarati classes. The wholehearted efforts of children, youths and elders and the unequivocal support of BAPS Tanzania ensured the timely completion of the project.

The Mandir Mahotsav commenced on Friday 9 September with a kirtan aradhana and Swagat Sabha, welcoming Pujya Viveksagar Swami and Narayancharan Swami. On Saturday 10 September, a Vishwashanti Mahayagna was held at Radha Krishna Mandir, during which prayers were offered for world peace and the happiness of all. Three learned pundits guided the 25 kundi mahayagna in which a total of 200 yajmans participated.

At noon, the murtis to be consecrated in the mandir were taken around the town in a festive nagar-yatra. Six beautifully decorated floats carried the majestically adorned murtis through the 3-km procession route from the Radha Krishna Mandir in city of Lusaka to the newly built BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Rhodes Park. Over 1,000 devotees joined the procession which stretched for 800 m. Some highlights of the procession:

  • The Military Army band.
  • Devotees carried country flags and signboards of all the major satsang centers in Central and Southern Africa.
  • The chhablika mandal (from Kutch) sang kirtans in traditional style.
  • Yuvaks performed various traditional dances.
  • Children and youths dressed in traditional costumes.
  • Local Zambian traditional men dancers also participated.
  • Ladies carried kalashes filled with the waters of important rivers from Central Africa and holy rivers from India on their heads.
  • At the conclusion of the procession, arti was performed at each float.
  • The celebrations ended with a fireworks display.

In the evening, a tribute assembly in honor of HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj was held. Pujya Viveksagar Swami and Narayancharan Swami shared enlightening incidents of Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

On the morning of Sunday 11 September (Bhadarva sud 9), the sacred murtis of Shri Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj, Shri Guru Parampara, Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj, Shri Radha-Krishna Dev, Shri Sita-Ram Dev, Shri Parvati-Mahadev, Shri Ganapatiji and Shri Hanumanji were installed in the new Mandir with Vedic rites by Pujya Viveksagar Swami. Previously, on 30 March 2016, Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj had performed the Vedic murti-pratishtha rituals in Sarangpur, India.

During the murti-pratishtha assembly, Pujya Viveksagar Swami emphasized to the 1,500 devotees from all around Africa who were present the importance of mandirs in the community, and how they reinforce moral teachings and preserve spiritual values. Also present in the assembly were government ministers and other dignitaries. 

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