The sixteenth anniversary of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London was celebrated with great devotion on Saturday 20 August 2011. Traditionally known as the Patotsav, this year's ceremony was held in the presence of Anandswarup Swami, head sadhu of BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar.
The occasion began with the Mangala Arti at 6.00am, followed by the arti of Shri Nilkanth Varni and the Shangar Arti at 7.30am. Anandswarup Swami and the sadhus then performed the ritual bathing (abhishek) of the murtis in the central shrines with panchamrut (a holy mixture of milk, yoghurt, honey, sugar and ghee) and water. Devotees were also privileged to offer abhishek of the smaller murtis of Harikrishna Maharaj.
From the afternoon, devotees and guests also took the opportunity to perform the abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni. A grand mahapuja began at 5.45pm where hundreds of devotees prayed for peace.
The evening assembly began with Shukmuni Swami singing dhun and the bhajans 'Raj Mare re Mandiriye' and 'Mare Bhuvan Padharo Hari Hasata Re'. Thereafter, memories of the Mandir Mahotsav of 1995 were revived by a video presentation.
Yogvivek Swami also explained the need and benefits gained from the Mandir and how Pramukh Swami Maharaj builds mandirs to instil true values.
The beauty of London Mandir was vividly depicted through a short video presentation, after which Anandswarup Swami extolled the devotional and spiritual significance of a mandir with incidents from the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The celebrations culminated with the arti ceremony, as thousands remembered Pramukh Swami Maharaj performing the first arti of the Mandir sixteen years ago.