As part of the birth centenary celebrations of Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the 88th birth anniversary of Pragat Brahmaswrup Mahant Swami Maharaj, devotees from Chigwell, East London, Southend-on-Sea and Cambridge participated in a 21.2-mile pad-yatra (pilgrimage by foot) from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chigwell to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden.
The pad-yatra commenced at 7.45am at Chigwell Mandir with an opening ceremony in the presence of swamis from Neasden Mandir.
Children as young as two-and-a-half years to devotees as old as 73 years participated in the pad-yatra. They all walked enthusiastically across London, enjoying devotional activities en route, including singing bhajans, listening to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s biography, and sharing their treasured memories of interactions with Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Devotees reached London Mandir after almost ten hours and were warmly welcomed by the swamis and volunteers upon arrival.
Reflecting on the unity and spirit amongst the walkers, Khanak Patel, a young 13-year-old participant, shared, “It was amazing to take part in the pad-yatra. It was challenging but doing it together as a group − with my friends and fellow devotees − really helped me to keep going and made it feel achievable.”
Vishal Patel, one of the organising volunteers, added, “It was wonderful to see so many devotees take part with such enthusiasm over a challenging distance. Everyone was keen to complete this devotional pilgrimage to pay tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s life of selfless service and sacrifice for all.”