The celebrations of culture, spirituality, and community that began with the opening of BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Jersey continued to resonate in all BAPS Mandirs throughout North America this Diwali. This year's Diwali, the Hindu 'festival of lights' symbolizing the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, was a time of reflection, rejuvenation, and joy for millions worldwide. Each BAPS Mandir created a unique experience, blending ancient traditions with modern expressions of faith, culture, and community.
Visitors entering the mandirs were greeted with traditional and colorful decorations, including intricate Rangoli—artistic floor designs made from colored powder—showcasing the rich cultural heritage. A highlight of the celebrations was the 'Annakut', a grand offering of hundreds of vegetarian dishes representing abundance and devotion, meticulously prepared by devotees.
Children's activities, including storytelling, crafts, and traditional games, were organized by volunteers, connecting the younger generation with their cultural heritage. These festivities symbolize new beginnings and a recommitment to family values, as seen in the Rangoli, lamps, and the Annakut offering.
The spiritual head of BAPS, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj sent blessings to all devotees and well-wishers for Diwali. He encouraged all to find the light within them and make it shine brighter by incorporating unity, values, spirituality, and a spirit of giving. The spirit of Diwali resonated beyond the mandir's surroundings, touching the hearts and souls of all attendees. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandirs stand as beacons of culture, community unity, and spiritual growth.