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BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Wellingborough hosted its 29th annual New Year’s Day prayers on Sunday 1 January 2012. Visitors from around the country gathered to join in 12 hours of continuous chanting for world peace, harmony and well-being for the year ahead.

The prayers began in timely fashion at 7am, with visitors braving the inclement weather to participate throughout the day. Housed within the Mandir is the ‘Akshar Deri’ – a special place of pilgrimage where devotees offer prayers, prostrations and perform circumambulations for spiritual elevation. Since 1984, with the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, it has become traditional for Hindus both local and national to visit the Mandir on the first day of the New Year to offer such prayers.

From the point of arrival, visitors were offered an inspirational experience as teams of volunteers guided them throughout the carefully planned event. Bhavini Mistry from Cardiff shared her thoughts of the day in saying, “It was a beautiful, unforgettable experience. This is the first time that I have visited and I can truly say that it was well worth the journey. It was nice to see family and friends, but to experience such peace and harmony in the Mandir was something else. We all prayed for those less fortunate than us and the health and prosperity for all in the New Year.”

The prayers continued uninterrupted through to 7pm, when the day’s chanting and months of preparations were drawn to an end.

Mahesh Patel, lead volunteer at the Mandir, remarked, “The New Year is naturally a time for us to reflect and rejoice, but it is also a time to come together in the community and pray for peace and well-being throughout the world. A special thanks to everyone in the community for their support and dedication to make this event such a success.”

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