The festival of Holi was traditionally celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden on Friday 21 March 2008. The day also marked the birth anniversary of Brahmaswarup Bhagatji Maharaj, the second spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan making the day even more festive. The sacred images in the Mandir were adorned with beautiful coloured clothing. Devotees from all over London and the UK braved the cold weather to offer their prayers on this most auspicious day. The rains which came just one hour prior to the start of the celebrations failed to deter the enthusiasm of the devotees. This year, the festival coincided with the national holiday of Good Friday.
At 6.00pm on the grounds adjacent to The Swaminarayan School, the festival of Holi began with the chanting of Vedic prayers. Devotees performed poojan of Thakorji and Lord Vishnu and then proceeded to offer their respects at the large fire. Sanctified coconuts, popcorn and dates were given to the devotees as prasad. Visitors expressed their gratitude that they were able to bring their children on this auspicious day to witness and participate in the traditional way of celebrating Holi and many were very pleased at the way that the arrangements for the festival were made.
In the Haveli, the festival was marked with an assembly in which sadhus talked on the significance of Holi and also on the virtues of service and devotion as seen in the life of Bhagatji Maharaj.