Inspired by His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the Rath
Yatra (Festival of Chariots) was celebrated by many devotees
in glorious sunshine on Sun 2 May.
procession commenced at 2.30pm from the Alperton Community School
in Stanley Avenue, Alperton, after the chanting of Shãntipãth
(traditional Sanskrit prayers). The procession was led by the
Akshar Marching Band from Leicester, accompanied by senior sadhus
with the sacred image of Harikrishna Maharaj.
procession was celebrated in a buoyant and festive mood by all
present, young and old, men and women, cheered on by the thousands
of onlookers. Amongst the numerous different groups, the first
group included young children dressed in colourful traditional
costumes, dancing and singing while others carried banners depicting
the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the BAPS Children’s
procession included two spectacular chariots which carried the
sacred deities of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj and Shri Jagannathji
through Ealing Road, Wembley High Road and Harrow Road, finally
reaching the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir at 5.30pm.
of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers lined the route so
that the event was enjoyed by all. They ensured that the roads
and pavements were cleared of any litter and the participants
were stewarded safely along the route. Cllr Anne John –
Leader of Brent Council and Cllrs. Lorber and Chavda were among
the many guests who found the procession a very memorable experience.
a grand finale to the procession, there was a short ceremony
in the mandir courtyard. To mark the 50th Anniversary of the
children’s activities and World Peace, His Divine Holiness
Pramukh Swami Maharaj together with Ken Livingstone –
Mayor of London, Lord Toby Harris, Tony McNulty MP – Minister
of Transport and Barry Gardiner MP – Secretary of Northern
Ireland released 30 doves whilst the balaks and balikas released
thousands of balloons.
the evening assembly in the Haveli, Swamishri spoke of the significance
of Rath Yatra in his blessings and stressed the importance of
keeping God and Satsang foremost in our lives.