Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj graced the suburbs of East London for the first time in 1970, planting the seeds of East London Satsang Mandal. Satsang activities in the area have steadily expanded since then through regular weekly assemblies and many other events.
After more than four decades of growth and patience, and with the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj, land for a new mandir was acquired in Chigwell to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of devotees young and old.
After the new site was sanctified by Sadguru Pujya Kothari Swami (Bhaktipriya Swami) and Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, the bhumi pujan ceremony for the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in East London was performed on Sunday 29 January 2017 in the presence of Harikrishna Maharaj and swamis from London.
The traditional ritual involves blessing the land amid Vedic chanting and praying for peace and well-being to prevail throughout the local community.
A team of over 200 volunteers had worked tirelessly for the preparations of the ceremony, which included setting up three marquees and meticulously arranging hundreds of plates to be used in the mahapuja.
More than 1,100 devotees and well-wishers, including members of the local community, attended the ceremony. Visitors were warmly greeted and guided by young children.
The programme began with prayers and an insightful video presentation charting the history of East London Satsang Mandal. In the assembly that followed the mahapuja ceremony, Yogvivek Swami further elaborated upon the history of Satsang activities in the area and provided motivation and encouragement for volunteers and worshippers to work together to fulfil the vision of Mahant Swami Maharaj.
The auspicious occasion concluded with Mahant Swami Maharaj’s blessings sent via a video link.