From 20 December 2010 to 10 January 2011, more than 66 youngsters from the Asia Pacific region participated in an educational trip to India and a Kishore-Kishori Shibir.
The trip started in New Delhi with a stay at Swaminarayan Akshardham and a pilgrimage to Chhapaiya, the sacred birthplace of Bhagwan swaminarayan. The youngsters, from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, then went to Sarangpur for a 5-day shibir. The theme of the shibir was 'Sanskruti – Mandir, Shastra, Sant'. Learned sadhus gave enlightening lectures, presentations and speeches on topics such as: The need for Mandirs, Hindu Shastras, Niyam-Dharma, Qualities of the Satpurush, Role of Guru and Atmabuddhi. There were many interactive activities , question-answer sessions and group discussions on how to advance in satsang and meet the challenges of daily life. The evening sessions included an interesting story-telling presentation and a melodious Kirtan Bhakti performance by sadhus. The shibir provided the youngsters a cultural experience with practical lessons of life in India, cooking and a visit to the nearby village of Tajpur to experience traditional village life.
The shibir motivated everyone to achieve higher goals in satsang. All the kishores and kishoris vowed to take positive steps towards preserving their satsang values, culture, language and traditions and controlling their personal emotions.
The group then pilgrimaged to many of the BAPS shikharbaddh mandirs in Gujarat, during which they learnt about the history of the mandirs and the dedication of Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj in creating these mandirs, which are timeless beacons of culture, heritage and values.
The 20-day India experience culminated with Pramukh Swami Maharaj's darshan and guidance in Mumbai. The overall impact of the India trip and shibir was magnificent and the youngsters left feeling enriched enlightened and eager to come again.