The new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Leeds opened on Saturday 30 August 2014 in the presence of Sadguru Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Kothari Swami) as well as visiting sadhus from India and London.
The opening marks a new milestone in the growth of Satsang activities in the city over the past 26 years. Regular weekly sabhas by devotees and visits by sadhus helped Satsang expand and eventually necessitated a mandir facility where families can gather to strengthen their faith and devotion.
The murti pratishtha rituals of the Mandir were performed by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj in Sarangpur on 10 March 2014 and these murtis were consecrated in their respective shrines by Pujya Kothari Swami amid ancient Vedic chanting and ceremonies.
The inauguration celebrations of the new mandir included a special mahapuja (Vedic ceremony) during the morning where devotees and well-wishers offered their prayers for peace and well-being to prevail throughout the local community.
The first arti of the new mandir was joyously performed in the evening which was followed by a special inauguration assembly.
Thakorbhai Patel, the Mandir’s lead coordinator, shared: “The Mandir will not only serve as a place of worship but will inspire family values and moral living among children, youths and the elderly. It will be an important part of the local community and so it was very heartening to see so many people at the opening not only from Leeds but many other towns and cities from around the country.”
Aloukiben Sonigra, who has been involved with various activities leading to the opening of the Mandir, spoke about the role it will play in her life: “The Mandir will be a place where I can connect with God and my guru and also become involved in doing things that help other people. It’s my spiritual home and school, where I feel safe but also where I learn different skills and values that will be useful for me in so many different ways.”
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Leeds will serve as the hub of spiritual, community and charity services for BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in and around West Yorkshire and the Humber.