The 25th anniversary celebrations of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, were marked with a host of devotional festivities on Sunday 23 August 2020.
They began with a kirtan aradhana
early in the morning, performed live by swamis in London during the puja of Mahant Swami Maharaj in Nenpur, India, via video conferencing facilities.
This was followed by the patotsav ceremony at 9.30am BST, to commemorate the anniversary of the Mandir’s murtis when they were infused with divine presence by Pramukh Swami Maharaj 25 years ago.
Swamis performed the patotsav rituals, including the abhishek of the murtis, in a special service during the morning, which was webcast to thousands across the world. During the ceremony, they offered prayers for all those affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic as well as for peace and harmony to prevail in the world. Devotees and well-wishers joined these prayers from their respective homes.
Mahant Swami Maharaj had expressed a wish to personally join in the patotsav ceremony. Earlier in the morning, he performed the abhishek of the murtis in London remotely from Nenpur, India, using a wireless trigger. Video highlights of this unique participation were also shown during the main ceremony.
Yogvivekdas Swami, Head Swami of the Mandir, delivered a discourse on the significance of mandirs, drawing upon their theological importance as revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the Vachanamrut. He also reflected upon the history of the Mandir’s inauguration and the tireless commitment of devotees who, inspired by the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, offered their dedication and devotion upon which today’s 25th anniversary celebrations are founded. Video highlights of the cultural festival leading to the Mandir’s inauguration in 1995 were also shown, bringing together these messages and rekindling cherished memories.
As part of the patotsav celebrations, a variety of sweet and savoury dishes were artistically offered to the deities in the main shrines. Swamis sang thal of this annakut under the dome in the upper sanctum, while devotees joined in at home by offering thal in their respective ghar mandirs.
The patotsav celebrations concluded with the ceremonial arti at noon which was performed simultaneously by Mahant Swami Maharaj in Nenpur and webcast live to everyone.
The online celebrations provided an opportunity for devotees – who could not attend this year’s event in person due to the pandemic – to still participate in this auspicious and historic occasion.
The 25th anniversary celebrations of London Mandir culminated with an eye-opening and gripping finale programme
in the afternoon, commencing at 3.30pm BST.