Makarsankranti is the Hindu holy festival marking the sun’s transition (‘sankranti’) into the zodiacal sign of Capricorn (‘Makara’). It is also known as Uttarayan, derived from the Sanskrit words ‘uttara’ (north) and ‘ayana’ (movement), indicating the beginning of the sun’s northbound journey and the end of winter. The day is also considered especially meritorious for alms-giving and charity.
Uttarayan is typically celebrated in India with the flying of kites. The murtis at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London were therefore beautifully decorated with kites of various sizes and colours when this year’s festival was celebrated on Saturday 16 January 2016.
Special assemblies were held in the evening to further explain the history and spiritual significance of these festivals. Devotees of all ages were enlightened through presentations as well as discourses from sadhus who spoke of an upward trajectory in life.
Video excerpts of past celebrations with Pramukh Swami Maharaj were also shown, reviving cherished memories for many.
In keeping with tradition for this day, sadhus concluded the festivities in the respective assemblies with the ‘ahlek’ (or call): “Swaminarayan Hare, Sacchidanand Prabho!”