Following the visit of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali on Friday 9 November 2007, the morning of Saturday 10 November 2007 heralded the start of the Hindu New Year. Devotees flocked to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London from early morning to celebrate this auspicious day.
Vedic prayers for peace and well-being were held inside the assembly hall. The Annakut – the ceremonial offering of food to the deities – followed at midday. A breathtaking variety of over 1,200 dishes were offered to the deities. The head sadhu of the Mandir, Yogvivek Swami, then conveyed the prayers and good wishes of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Throughout the day, a continual stream of devotees and visitors observed the majestic arrangement of sweets, pickles, salads, fruit drinks and various other items exquisitely prepared by the devotees.
Their Royal Highnesses had visited the Mandir on the afternoon of Friday 9 November 2007 – the auspicious Hindu day of Diwali – and participated in various traditional ceremonies including food crafting. Their handiwork was also exhibited on Saturday in front of the deities. Prince Charles had spoken highly of the Diwali and Annakut festival at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London declaring it “by far the most magnificent in all of Britain.”
Annakut celebrations also took place at all major BAPS centres in the UK and Europe.