A special opportunity for mandir darshan and abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj was organised as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
In the interest of public health and the safety of all devotees and visitors, the Mandir had closed on Friday 13 March 2020 due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the Mandir still continues to meet the spiritual needs of worshippers and the community by providing a deep spiritual connection through its daily webcast services and weekly online programmes.
Between 12 and 20 August, as permitted by local authorities, devotees were given the opportunity to visit the Mandir by registering through an online booking system. It offered devotees a chance to offer private worship while observing the government’s health protocols.
Visitors were required to wear face coverings, while clear markings were displayed across the complex to ensure a safe social distance was maintained throughout. Sanitizing stations at key junctures allowed devotees to wash their hands regularly. Many other safety measures had also been implemented to minimise risks.
After devotees had enjoyed darshan in the upper sanctum and abhishek in the lower chamber, swamis greeted seniors, youths and children from a safe distance in the corridor. Their interactions added to a truly memorable and uplifting experience for the devotees.
Harish Depala shared his thoughts following his visit: “I was overjoyed that my five-year-old son could see the swamis, even if it was from a distance. Seeing them made his day and the visit was memorable for so many reasons. It has been a challenging time for so many. This visit has given a deep sense of peace and stability for my family.”
Naiya Patel, aged 10, added, “Seeing the murtis again in person was amazing. I am so happy to have this chance to visit the Mandir.”