Shri Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India, visited BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as ‘Neasden Temple’ – on Tuesday 9 January 2024.
Mr Singh, who had arrived in the UK for a two-day visit, was joined by His Excellency Vikram Doraiswami, the High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, and a delegation from India’s Ministry of Defence.
The visit commenced with a formal welcome extended by Yogvivekdas Swami and local trustees, followed by a tour of the complex, allowing the visitors to explore the Mandir’s intricate architecture and spiritual ambience.
The dignitaries participated in the abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj, before interacting with volunteers who contribute to the Mandir’s operations and community initiatives. The exchange offered a glimpse into the Mandir’s extensive community service efforts and the dedication of its volunteers towards selflessly serving humanity, including its contributions to British society.
The Minister also met the resident swamis, allowing for deeper discussions on spirituality and culture, as well as the Mandir’s role as a cultural ambassador and its commitment to upholding timeless Hindu values.
Sharing his impressions of his visit and his sentiments of the Mandir’s role in preserving India’s culture and contributions to the world, Mr Singh said, “I have experienced tremendous peace at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London and have offered personal prayers that I am able to live totally without ego. By the influence of Sanatan Dharma, one's ego evaporates. This happens only by the blessings of God. This is the experience I had here.”
Jitu Patel, Chair of BAPS UK & Europe, added, “We would like to thank Shri Rajnath Singh for taking the time from his busy schedule to visit the Mandir. Our strong ties and positive engagement with the High Commission of India serve as a platform to contribute to shared British and Indian values.”