The festival of Jholi was joyously celebrated on the evening of Saturday 17 January 2015 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

Also known as the festival of Uttarayan, derived from the Sanskrit words ‘uttara’ (north) and ‘ayana’ (movement), it marks the commencement of the sun’s northbound journey.

Uttarayan is typically celebrated in India with the flying of kites. The murtis inside the sanctum sanctorum were therefore beautifully decorated with kites of various sizes and colours.

Assemblies for various age groups were held at the Mandir to share the significance of the festival. Devotees learned of the spiritual benefits of donating on this auspicious day, and children, youths and senior devotees all participated by pledging their own contributions, including in time and as religious observances.

Discourses by sadhus explored the traditions of Jholi further. They covered the hardships and challenges that Shastriji Maharaj overcame, in tribute to his upcoming 150th birth anniversary.

In keeping with the alms-begging tradition, sadhus concluded the festivities with the ‘ahlek’ (or call): “Swaminarayan Hare, Sacchidanand Prabho!”

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