Festivities marking the reopening of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Havant, UK, were held on 30 June 2019 in the presence of swamis from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The Mandir was opened in 2006 following steady growth of satsang activities in Havant since 1974 when religious assemblies and festivals were conducted at various houses and hired halls with a handful of devotees.
After serving the local community as a focal point for spiritual and social activities for 13 years, a five-week renovation of the premises was undertaken to enable worshippers, visitors and members of the local community to continue enjoying an enriching experience.
As part of the refurbishments, a new sinhasan (ceremonial centrepiece that houses the murtis) was installed. The building improvements involved the tireless dedication of local volunteers who came together to ensure all necessary works were completed within the timeframe.
The celebrations began with a special mahapuja in the Mandir’s prayer hall where devotees and well-wishers offered their prayers for peace, harmony and well-being to prevail throughout the local community.
Yogvivek Swami, Head Swami of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, performed the Vedic murti-pratishtha ceremony of the murtis which had been consecrated by Mahant Swami Maharaj on 22 October 2018 in Gadhada, India.
A dedication assembly was also held in the presence of distinguished guests, civic leaders, various community representatives, and scores of local devotees and well-wishers from around the country.
Joining the celebrants was Cllr Prad Bains, Deputy Mayor of Havant. Addressing the congregation, Cllr Bains said, “My aim is to bring about greater awareness of faith and religion across Havant. As we all know, Hinduism is a crucial part of British culture. I’m very keen to work closely with all religious faiths in my tenure to ensure we are working together as one strong and coherent community. Everyone here is so welcoming and so lovely. It’s such a peaceful religion.’’
The new Mandir will continue to serve as a place of worship for the enthusiastic local fellowship, and as the hub of spiritual, community and charity services for BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in Havant and the wider Hampshire area.