Since its inauguration on August 8th, 2004 by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chicago, IL has become the focus of interest and wonder for thousands of local residents, community members and tourists. The decennial anniversary of the mandir centered on the theme ‘Shanti: Experience Peace’ was celebrated with great devotion on August 2-3, 2014.
Traditionally known as Patotosav, the festivities began in the early morning hours on Saturday, August 2nd with a traditional mahapuja ceremony in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Mahant Swami and Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami. Through the showering of flower petals and rice grains amid the chanting of Vedic hymns and prayers, several rituals were performed to commemorate the mandir’s anniversary. A simultaneous ritual was held outside, in front of the mandir, to perform the groundbreaking ceremony of a new, upcoming cultural center that will be constructed adjacent to the current mandir.
Celebrations continued later that afternoon with a special women’s cultural program that shed light on the mandir’s history over the last 10 years. Through various skits, speeches, video presentations, and a panel discussion, the program highlighted the need for such a spirituality and its ability to instill morals and values.
To commemorate this historic milestone, on Sunday, August 3rd, a grand cultural program was held at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, IL. Centered on the theme “Shanti: Experience Peace”, the program took an in-depth look at how the mandir preserves culture, promotes and strengthens family values, instills inner peace, and impacts society through charity. The program organized and executed by the children and youth of BAPS, highlighted not only the many positive effects of the mandir on our community, but also how it has positively influenced youth today to consistently work hard, and make the right choices in their lives, while preserving their culture. Pujya Mahant Swami highlighted this at the end of the program, acknowledging today’s youth as the faces of tomorrow. His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj continues to inspire the preservation of Indian culture through events like this and through unique mandirs.