The grand opening of the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Wellingborough, Northants, was celebrated on the weekend of 22-23 August 2009. A special mahapuja (Vedic ceremony) was performed during the morning where devotees and well-wishers offered their prayers for peace and well-being to prevail throughout the local community.
During the afternoon, a ceremonial procession graced the streets of the town. The murtis (sacred images) that were to be enshrined in the new mandir were placed on decorated floats and accompanied with joyous singing and dancing. Dr Hiten Patel, Communications volunteer for BAPS, explained, “These sacred images of the Deities will preside over the new mandir. This procession allows them to see the town that will soon be their new home as well as to bless the local community. It’s a time for devotional celebration.”
After commencing at 2:00pm from Highfield Leisure Centre (Hindu Community Centre) in the presence of local dignitaries, the colourful procession followed a planned route through Wellingborough culminating three hours later at the new mandir site on Mill Road.
In the evening, a special cultural programme was organised in the new assembly hall where young devotees performed dances, dramas and devotional songs to mark the joyous occasion.