His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj touched the lives of millions around the world. One of his greatest gifts to the UK has been the internationally acclaimed BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London. Inaugurated by His Holiness in August 1995, it has become an integral part of the country’s religious landscape, inspiring peace, harmony and spirituality in the millions who have visited over the years.
The 21st anniversary of the Mandir was celebrated on Saturday 27 August 2016 in the presence of senior sadhu from India, Sadguru Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Kothari Swami).
Sadhus began the ‘patotsav’ – marking the anniversary of the Mandir’s opening and the calendric day that its murtis were first infused with the divine presence of God – with a Vedic ceremony in the morning.
Visitors participated in the ritual bathing of Nilkanth Varni throughout the day, and observed the traditional offering of food (‘annakut’) to thank God for his providence.
A mahapuja praising God and seeking his blessings for continued peace and prosperity in the world was held in the afternoon.
During a special evening assembly, devotees and guests paid tribute to Swamishri’s selfless and spiritually enriching life, recalling many cherished memories of his presence at the Mandir.
Youths began the programme by singing prayers before sadhus spoke about Swamishri’s social, spiritual and humanitarian works, including the construction of the Mandir.
Yogvivek Swami spoke of Swamishri’s positive personality even amid fragile health, which has encouraged his followers to adopt resilience in their personal lives.
Kothari Swami also addressed the assembly and encouraged devotees to continue their spiritual journey with faith and conviction.
Sadhus concluded the evening by offering pushpanjali to Swamishri and performing the arti.