The new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chigwell, Essex, was inaugurated in the presence of Anandswarupdas Swami and Bhadreshdas Swami, senior swamis visiting from India, on Saturday 9 June 2018.
The new mandir will not only serve as a place of worship for the large and enthusiastic local Hindu community, but also as the hub of children’s, youth, educational, healthcare and other charitable activities for BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the wider East London area.
Mahant Swami Maharaj had performed the murti-pratishtha
of the Mandir during his visit to the UK last year, on 8 October 2017.
Following the murti-pratishtha ceremony, volunteers worked tirelessly for the completion of the adjoining cultural complex. The festivities on 9 June marked the culmination of their endeavours.
The inauguration was marked with a grand mahapuja in which hundreds of worshippers as well as members of the local community participated. This was followed by an enlightening cultural programme of devotional singing and discourses from swamis who explained the historical context and significance of mandirs, and the peace and fulfilment that they provide to endless people.
A series of short video presentations charted the development of religious and community activities in East London, and the history of the new mandir project.
A number of prominent guests were present for the opening, including Dame Eleanor Laing, MP for Epping Forest and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, and Cllr Darshan Singh Sunger, Cllr Gagan Mohindra and Cllr Aniket Patel, as well as all members of the Epping Forest District Council.
Girish Patel, a leading volunteer of the Mandir, shared, “The Mandir will play an important role in the East London region and we are delighted to see so many members of the local community coming together to celebrate this momentous occasion with us.”
History of BAPS in East London
BAPS Satsang activities in East London have grown steadily since 1963 when religious assemblies and festivals were conducted at various houses and hired halls with a handful of devotees.
Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj – who prophesied the traditional stone mandir in London – visited East London in 1970.
Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj graced the area several times over the next four decades, inspiring the growth and depth in religiosity.
Mahant Swami Maharaj performed the murti-pratishtha of the Mandir on 8 October 2017 – the first such opening performed by Mahant Swami Maharaj in the UK.