This year's celebration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj's Janma Jayanti was an occasion of added joy for the devotees in Vadodara, as new murtis of the Guru Parampara were installed at the Atladra mandir.
A large open space in the Samata suburb of central Vadodara was specially prepared for the celebrations in the presence of Pujya Keshavjivan Swami (Pujya Mahant Swami), Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami, Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Pujya Kothari Swami) and Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami.
The celebration grounds featured a variety of devotional activities which took place for 108 hours inside huts made of traditional materials. These devotional activities included dhun yagna, jap yagna, lekhan yagna, shravan yagna and vanchan yagna. Also on the celebration grounds were four exhibitions: Sanskruti Darshan, Sahajanand Darshan, Mandir Darshan and Sant Mahima Darshan.
The festival had many humanitarian activities running in parallel - for instance, a blood donation camp was kept running throughout the celebration period, with a total of 65,000cc of blood being donated by devotees and well-wishers.
From 3rd to 5th December, a Yagnapurush World Peace Mahayagna was held. A total of 19,150 couples (38,300 'yajmans') sat around 623 yagna kunds to participate in separate yagnas over the three days. In the presence of sadguru sadhus, the participating couples performed Vedic yagna rituals while praying for world peace and for the long life and good health of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. In all, the participating devotees offered 1,200,000 mahamrutyunjay mantra chants, while, in the main yagna kund, the senior sadhus offered 125,000 mahamrutyunjay mantra chants.
On the afternoon of 6th December, a grand Nagar Yatra took place in which the forthcoming 150th birth anniversary celebration of Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj was highlighted. Commencing from the well-known Polo Ground, the procession passed through Dandiya Bazar, Sursagar, Lal Court, the main bazaar and returned to the Polo Ground.
The Nagar Yatra stretched for 2 kilometers and included the following items: Mayur Rath and Hansa Rath carrying the Guru Parampara murtis to be installed, decorated floats depicting upasana, mandirs and Satpurush through various mediums, young children in various costumes, youths displaying a variety of skills, dance groups and bhajan groups. Throughout the four kilometer route thousands of onlookers witnessed the colorful procession.
On the morning of 7 December, the new guru parampara murtis were installed in Atladara Mandir (Vadodara) with full Vedic rites by Pujya Mahant Swami, Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami, Pujya Kothari Swami, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and Pujya Ghanshyamcharan Swami. The mandir's newly built stone main gate – Yagnapurush Dwar – was inaugurated and marble footprints of Bhagwan Swaminarayan were consecrated in the mandir campus. Thereafter, an assembly was held in which leading city dignitaries and others were felicitated.
In the evening, thousands of devotees attended the grand 94th birthday celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj at Yagnapurush Nagar. Based on the theme ‘Ame runi guruji tamara chhie…’ (‘Guruji, we are indebted to you…’) the assembly featured inspiring skits, energetic dances, captivating videos and speeches by the sadguru sadhus and others. The celebrations concluded with everyone participating in the samuh arti.