BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chigwell joined thousands of others around the UK on the evening of Thursday 2 June 2022 in lighting a Beacon to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Beacon formed a part of the official national celebrations marking 70 years since Her Majesty ascended the throne.
More than three thousand Beacons had been lit by charities, communities and faith groups all over the UK. In addition, Beacons were lit in all 54 Commonwealth capitals, with the Principal Beacon lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The Beacon at the Mandir was lit by Councillor Celina Jefcoate, Chair of Chigwell Parish Council, and formed part of a unique community celebration organised by the Mandir to pay its own personal tribute to The Queen during her Platinum Jubilee.
Joining the lighting ceremony were members of the local community and the Mandir congregation.
Young children started the event with a recital of Vedic peace prayers, and the programme included the singing of the national anthem.
In her address, Cllr Jefcoate reflected on Her Majesty’s remarkable reign and the Beacon as a much-needed symbol of hope and unity.
Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Pageantmaster of The Queen’s Jubilee Platinum Beacons, had earlier explained that the event was “building on a long tradition of lighting beacons to mark significant royal celebrations… [enabling] local communities to join together to pay tribute to Her Majesty as part of the official programme of events.”
Sheena Amin-Patel, a lead BAPS volunteer, added, “Her Majesty’s longevity of leadership has provided comfort and assurance to the nation. We are delighted to have all BAPS Hindu mandirs around the UK join in the international celebrations and pay tribute to her seven decades of public service.”
Fittingly, the lighting ceremony coincided with the start of a series of yagnas – Vedic peace prayers offered to a sacred flame – marking the centennial birth anniversary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the inspirer of the mandir in Chigwell. He also lived a life dedicated to selfless service, embodying his teaching: “In the joy of others lies our own.”