The auspicious Hindu festivals of Shri Swaminarayan Jayanti and Shri Rama Navami were marked with a host of devotional festivities and cultural programmes at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, on 17 and 20 April 2024.
Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Shri Ramachandra manifested on Earth on the Hindu calendrical day of Chaitra Sud 9. This year, this day fell on Wednesday 17 April. Devotees and visitors arrived at the Mandir from the morning to join in the celebrations, which included an opportunity for darshan, pujan, and family photos with life-size images of Shri Rama Lalla and Bal Prabhu Ghanshyam Maharaj.
A special annakut (ceremonial offering of food) was artistically arranged and offered to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ramachandra, and an opportunity to perform abhishek (ritual bathing) of Nilkanth Varni Maharaj was available to everyone throughout the day.
The janmotsav arti of Bhagwan Ramchandra was held at 12 noon marking the precise time of his birth, which was followed by an inspiring discourse from Yogvivekdas Swami about Bhagwan Ramchandra’s inspiring virtues. The day culminated with an uplifting kirtan bhakti programme from swamis and youths, celebrating the life and works of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ramachandra.
The divine manifestation of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ramachandra were also joyously celebrated at the Mandir on Saturday 20 April through a colourful cultural programme produced and performed by over 150 children and youths.
Titled ‘Adharma Andhāru Tālyu’, the performances were delivered across two sittings, which provided an opportunity for thousands to understand how Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Bhagwan Ramachandra dispelled darkness and illuminated the path of righteousness.
This profound spiritual and social revolution was brought to life through an enthralling production of enlightening skits, vibrant dances, eloquent hymns and uplifting presentations from children – as young as four years – and youths, which recreated defining moments from history.
Sheetal Patel, who attended the evening performance, shared, “What a magnificent event! It was a fabulous way to teach young people about the work of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Ramchandra Bhagwan and the way in which they transformed the lives of so many people. My children were enthralled and learned so much – and enjoyed singing and clapping along to the dances and [devotional] songs. It was also so nice to see young children express their talent and inspire others.”
Deep Rao, a lead volunteer, added, “The dedication of volunteers and the commitment of the cast and crew – who have worked tirelessly for more than two months – provided not only the thousands at Neasden Temple with an uplifting experience, but many more in towns and cities across the country where this programme is also being delivered.”
Earlier in the day, a special full recital ceremony of the Satsang Diksha was held in the courtyard of the Mandir in the form of an auspicious yagna. The recital was organised as a devotional offering to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, also marking the day that the Satsang Diksha scripture was completed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj in 2020.

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