The sun-filled morning of October 3, 2023 was witness to many activities as prelude to the inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
The campus was filled with the sounds of devotional music, the fragrance of incense sticks, and colors of celebration for the Nagar Yatra, a cultural parade that often precedes the opening of Hindu mandirs.
Nagar Yatra is a vibrant traditional procession wherein the murtis (sacred images) take part in a cultural parade in exquisitely decorated floats around the campus, to bestow blessings to the community and onlookers before being consecrated in the mahamandir. Today’s nagar yatra, spanning over a quarter of a mile, honored murtis from the twelve sanctums of Akshardham
Beginning at the majestic sculpture of Pramukh Swami Maharaj at the main gate of the festival grounds, the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Dallas marching band journeyed from Texas and played various instruments such as the trumpet, drums and more to mark the joyous occasion. A brotherhood of swamis and newly ordained renunciants followed behind, dancing to the energetic music of the marching band. Pujaris, devotees who oversee the care of daily rituals in a mandir, youth and women celebrated with traditional folk dances and singing.
Volunteers who selflessly served in the construction of Swaminarayan Akshardham followed the procession, exemplifying their dedication and service. Interspersed throughout were the various murtis seated on ornately decorated floats, to be consecrated in the coming days. Culminating at Brahmakund, at the holy feet of Tapomurti Shri Nilkanth Varni, the Nagar Yatra garnered excitement for the upcoming inaugural festivities.