BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as ‘Neasden Temple’ – 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 Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Brent, Mei Sim Lai OBE, and formed part of a unique community celebration organised by the Mandir to pay its own personal tribute to Her Majesty The Queen.
Joining the lighting ceremony were representatives from the local Police force, Fire brigade and NHS staff as well as Dawn Butler MP and Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council.
Young children started the event by carrying a torch with a flame sanctified by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj in India. The cultural programme went on to include a recital of Vedic peace prayers, a traditional Indian folk dance, the sounding of the conch shell horn signifying the importance of the celebration, and the national anthem.
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.”
Neepa 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 in London and around the UK join in the international celebrations and pay tribute to her seven decades of dedicated 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 creator of Neasden Temple. He also lived a life dedicated to selfless service, embodying his teaching: “In the joy of others lies our own.” The Beacon was thus placed in front of a newly-erected 27-foot image of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the courtyard of Neasden Temple, where a maha-arti concluded the evening’s festivities.