On Saturday 8 July 2000, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London was the venue for a unique ceremony. Four thousand devotees and guests proudly witnessed the presentation of certificates for TWO WORLD RECORDS to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The Managing Editor of Guinness World Records, Mr Tim Footman presented His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj with certificates marking his entries into the world famous record book. The first certificate presented to His Holiness was for building and inspiring the largest traditional Hindu Mandir outside India. The second certificate marked a record 355 Temple Consecration Ceremonies performed by His Holiness between April 1971 and May 2000.
In Tim Footman's address to the audience he said: "Thank you very much for such a warm welcome. I am quite humbled, and if I have stumbled a bit, it is for loss of words. You are so kind. I have always said that the Guinness World Records is something like life. It's a combination of all things, it includes for duration. Records for standing on one leg, for 76 hours and things like the biggest collection of earrings or eating the most baked beans in half an hour, or we have got a record for a chap who pogo-sticked up to CN Tower in Toronto, 2000 steps. This is part of what makes the Guinness Book of World Records so successful, and indeed so much upon to work on. I have got the best job of publishing, but there are also some serious records and fundamental records. We also like to acknowledge to show that your life is at full. We have records about lives saved and lost, and we have records of people like Bill Gate's Microsoft fortunes rise and fall, and then of course, we have got records such as those held by His Holiness which we are here to honour. I was very glad last year to be able to honour His Holiness, for, well, what you see around you in material form and also not only himself, but all the people contributed to it. The 1526 craftsmen in India who went towards it, is truly a mass record and we are also very pleased to put the picture of this Temple and His Holiness. And we are doubly glad this year to receive a record which was just in time to include in the STOP Press. For the record, for the person who has consecrated the most temples of any religious building of any religion around the world, 355 -it is certainly an impressive statistic, and it is one which we hope to include in the main body of the book next year. I had little time to digest it and have full details. What impressed me most about it is that it isn't simply an Indian Record. His Holiness has traveled all around the World and has disciples all around the world. I am prepared to put faith into these temples and it is in the best of things, truly a world record !"
In his blessings, Pramukh Swami Maharaj praised the efforts of Mr Footman and his team for recognizing the achievements of BAPS. He went on to congratulate all the other record breakers. Swamishri highlighted the importance of temples in our society today and credited his achievements to Lord Swaminarayan and his guru Yogiji Maharaj.
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj presented mementos of the Mandir to Mr. Footman.
On seeing the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Mr. Tim Footman opined, "A magnificent architectural achievement, uniting Hindus and non-Hindus alike in awe at what can be achieved through skill, commitment and effort. The friendliness and hospitality of all connected with the Mandir is a memory common to all visitors. It is a pleasure and an honour to be your guest!"