His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurated BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Ashton, Manchester, in 1994. Since then, it has welcomed worshippers and visitors from across the north-west and various other parts of the UK, who have been inspired by its profound sense of peace and spirituality.
The 25th anniversary of the Mandir was marked with a two-day programme of inspiring festivities on the weekend of 3-4 August 2019 in the presence of swamis from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, and visiting swamis from India. Also in attendance were prominent local guests, including The Worshipful Civic Mayor of Tameside Councillor Leigh Drennan and Councillors Yvonne Cartey, Mike Glover and Vimal Choksi.
A special cultural programme of dances, devotional singing and speeches performed by women of various ages was organised on the evening of 3 August.
The ‘patotsav’ – marking the anniversary of the Mandir’s opening when its murtis were ceremoniously infused with divine presence – was held on 4 August with a special Vedic ceremony performed by swamis. Devotees also prayed for God to bless the world with peace, harmony and righteous prosperity.
A variety of sweet and savoury dishes were offered to the murtis in the main shrine to thank God for his providence. Worshippers and visitors observed this ‘annakut’ throughout the day.
The two-day observances culminated with a special evening assembly of enlightening dramas, devotional singing and keynote addresses from swamis who explained the importance of mandirs and the benefits they provide to society. They also refreshed several memories from the Mandir’s inauguration in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Yvonne Cartey, in sharing her impressions of the Mandir’s enriching values, said, “Thank you so much for inviting me to your inspiring event. 25 years is a wonderful milestone in the history of the Mandir. The Mandir is more than a place of worship; it is a valued asset in Tameside taking a lead in the community to promote family values, health awareness, community cohesion and much more.”