Yuvaks and yuvatis of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha organised their first Mandir Open Evening on Thursday 14 May 2009. Over 350 guests attended, all of whom were either friends or colleagues of yuvaks and yuvatis. They were given the opportunity to experience the beautiful architecture, traditions as well as cultural and community activities at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.
The guests were received by volunteers and were traditionally welcomed at the Mandir before being taken on a guided tour around the Mandir complex. They also had the opportunity to view the ‘Understanding Hinduism’ exhibition and perform the abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni.
Following the guided tour, the guests went around various stalls in the Haveli hall, which depicted activities undertaken by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The stalls included Hindu festivals, the art of creativity, bhakti, charitable activities, the art and architecture of mandirs, health and vitality, and traditional Indian music.
A short assembly was held in which Yogvivek Swami, the head sadhu at the Mandir talked of the dedication and devotion of the volunteers in creating the Mandir with the inspiration of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This was followed by a video showing the concept of serving society. Pujya santos spoke of the importance of family values and introspection in today’s fast-paced life. The assembly concluded with prayers for world peace.
The evening was completed with a traditional vegetarian meal. As the guests departed, they were presented with a souvenir gift pack.
Some of those who visited shared their opinions:
A fantastic building, fantastic people, fantastic food, in all a fantastic evening. Thank you.
Thank you very much for an amazing evening with fantastic organisation.
Lovely evening; an inspiring sanctuary. I am looking forward to Diwali already.
Thank you for a wonderful educational evening. Good to know that Hinduism is a moral, tolerant and liberal religion. Insightful and a spiritual tour for a non-believer.
Many thanks for your warm hospitality. We were greatly impressed by all the guides and your faith.
The temple, the tour, the people, the food, the generosity – all overwhelmingly wonderful and unforgettable! I really, really enjoyed myself. The Mandir itself deserves all of its accolades and I was most impressed by the story of how it was built. I am not surprised by what BAPS has achieved and what you will continue to achieve.
I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude and honour for taking part in such a beautiful evening. Can only say that may God continue to bless you and the mandir plentifully.