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October 1999
      Guinness World Records 2000 Hails Pramukh Swami Maharaj as a Master Builder
17 October 1999 Edison, USA BAPS Walkathon To Promote Values
10 October 1999 London, UK Former President Jimmy Carter Visits Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London
10 October 1999 Los Angeles, USA BAPS Walkathon To Promote Values
3 October 1999 Amdavad, India Swaminarayan Mahamantra Bicentenary Parades
BAPS Walkathon To Promote Values, Edison, USA

Pujya Haridarshan Swami flags-off the Walkathon
Children prepare to set off at the start of the walk
Parents and grandparents participating in the walk

17 October 1999, Sunday, Edison, USA: BAPS Walkathon To Promote Values

Continuing the series of sponsored walkathons, over 1100 walkers participated in the "Family Walk For Family Values" in Edison, New Jersey on Sunday 17 October 1999. Starting at 10.00 a.m. from James Madison Intermediate School, walkers aged between 8 and 84 enthusiastically completed the 5-mile course. To the accompaniment of Vedic hymns, the walk was flagged-off by Pujya Haridarshan Swami, co-ordinator for the Children and Youth Wings of the BAPS in North America. In fact, it was the youths who organized the whole event, from initial conception to actual implementation. The effect of these walks has been to raise the awareness of the public regarding the need to work towards building and maintaining strong bonds within the family and Pramukh Swami Maharajís message on how such family unity can be strengthened.

10 October 1999, Sunday, London, UK: Former President Jimmy Carter Visits Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London

Jimmy Carter, former President of the USA, arrived at the Mandir at 2.45pm. Pujya Atmaswarup Swami welcomed him in traditional Vedic style by applying a chandlo to his forehead, tying a nadachhadi on his wrist and singing of the 'Shanti Paath' (Peace Hymn). Mr. Carter was first shown the ĎUnderstanding Hinduismí exhibition. He was very much impressed by the displays and praised the Sanstha for its wide-ranging activities and spirit of volunteerism. Then he was taken for darshan of the Mandir. He was most impressed by the beauty and quality of the sculptings and architecture of the Mandir. Under the main dome, before the murti of Lord Ghanshyam Maharaj, prayers were offered for peace, progress, prosperity, and purity in his life. And also for success in his various projects for peace. As the ex-President was led into the 'roop choki', he commented, "This is most remarkable. I will never forget this day of my life." Thereafter, Mr. Carter was shown the haveli auditorium, sports hall and other community facilities. At the end, he was presented with various mementos of his visit to the Mandir. Before leaving, having spent 45 minutes at the Mandir, he thanked everyone for such an inspiring and enjoyable visit and autographed the visitorís book, "A truly beautiful and inspirational place!"

President Carter is shown the 'Inspirer' panel in the exhibition

President Carter before the murti of Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Pujya Atmaswarup Swami presents mementoes to the President
Participants gather before the start of the walk

Attorneys Frank and Simone cut the ribbon to start the walk

The eager participants race off at the start of the walk

10 October 1999, Sunday, Los Angeles, USA: BAPS Walkathon To Promote Values

Over 350 walkers of all ages participated in the annual "Family Walk For Family Values" walkathon. Starting at 9.00 am from Cerritos Regional Park, the young - some being pushed in strollers, and the old - some supported by walking sticks, alike, all completed the 10km route with tremendous enthusiasm. Attorneys Leslie Frank and Martin Simone officially began the walkathon by cutting the ribbon. Similar walkathons were also organized by BAPS centers in Toronto, San Jose, Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Columbus and Minneapolis. At each center hundreds of walkers turned out to walk the 10km route. In all, over the next month, 22 BAPS centers throughout North America will be hosting such walkathons to promote family values. In the weeks prior to the walks, members of the local BAPS center at each venue, visit families in their neighbourhood to explain Pramukh Swami Maharajís message on the need for family unity and how it can be achieved in todayís modern age.

3 October 1999, Sunday, Amdavad, India: Swaminarayan Mahamantra Bicentenary Parades

During the weekend of Saturday 2 October and Sunday 3 October 1999, over 16,500 devotees, young and old, participated in Swaminarayan Mahamantra Bicentenary Parades. As part of the celebrations for the forthcoming Bicentenary of the Swaminarayan Mahamantra (1801-2001), devotees from the 35 areas of the BAPS center in Amdavad organized these lively and colorful parades in each area. Each parade comprised of musical bands, groups singing the Swaminarayan Mahamantra, decorated floats of camel carts, trucks, tractors, cars and rickshaws, and troupes of children, dressed in colorful costumes, performing traditional folk dances. The processions passed through the streets of each area with continuous chanting of the Swaminarayan Mahamantra. Many passers-by and onlookers who joined in the prayers appreciated the noble causes for which the processions were held.

One of the colorful Mahamantra Parades  through the streets of Amdavad

Participants of the Mahamantra Parades

© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith