Satsang activities have been growing in the Manchester region for over 40 years, since the first weekly sabhas began in Ashton-Under-Lyne in 1971. Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurated a mandir there in 1977 and then in 1994 consecrated new marble murtis of Shri Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj, Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Hanumanji and Shri Ganeshji.
The 20th anniversary of this auspicious occasion was marked on Sunday 31 August 2014 in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Kothari Swami) and visiting sadhus from India and BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
As part of the festivities, new ornate sinhasans (decorative shrines) as well as new murtis of Shri Sita-Rama and Shri Shiva-Parvati were installed by Kothari Swami amid traditional Vedic ceremonies. A mahapuja was performed in the morning where devotees and well-wishers offered their prayers for peace and well-being to prevail throughout the local community.
Invited guests included The Mayor of Tameside Councillor Dawson Lane and The Mayoress Councillor Jacqueline Lane, who thanked the congregation “for the warmth and friendship that has been shown to us.” They added: “We have really enjoyed the experience.”
Other guests included local councillors and representatives from charity partners Willow Wood Hospice and Diabetes UK.
Dr Ana Cardosa from Willow Wood Hospice shared: “The temple’s environment is warm, welcoming and peaceful, and we will definitely return.”
Jasmine Patel, who is involved in the activities at the Mandir spoke of her “joyous experience of the celebrations” as well as the “overwhelming support and encouragement” that the Mandir has provided her during her life growing up in Manchester. “I can’t imagine what I’d do or where I’d be without it!”
In the evening, a commemoration assembly was held where local Hindu leaders were in attendance amongst the gathering of over 650 people. Children performed a colourful, traditional dance and a multimedia presentation recounting the history and activities of the Mandir was also shown. Kothari Swami spoke of the values that a mandir fosters and a video of Swamishri’s blessings during the 1994 murti pratishtha ceremony rekindled fond memories.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Manchester continues to provide an array of spiritual and community services to the people of the region.