The year 2023 proved to be another year filled with devotion, volunteerism and community spirit for the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) - headquartered at Neasden Temple in London - in the UK and Europe.
From monumental moments – like the centennial birth anniversary celebrations of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and commemoration of King Charles III’s coronation – to countless social drives tackling issues like the environment, health and charity, 2023 was a happening year for the BAPS community worldwide.
The year began with a month-long festival in Ahmedabad, India, celebrating the centennial birth anniversary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, which saw over 12 million people from around the world attend including thousands from the UK and Europe.
Commenting on the occasion, British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis said: “You are what Prime Minister Modi refers to as the ‘Living Bridge’ - the foundation on which the relationship between the UK and India is built.”
Later in May, Mahant Swami Maharaj was joyously welcomed to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London for a month-long visit, during which he held a personal meeting with Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
“I am here to show my respects to His Holiness, but to also ask for his blessings on the capital city of our great country [...] I explained to His Holiness that the ripples of good you do are felt by everybody – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, those members of an organised faith and those that aren’t,” said the Mayor addressing the evening assembly.
Diwali – one of the most prominent festivals in the Hindu calendar – saw the BAPS Neasden Temple spread the joy of the festival of lights throughout London and the UK.
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Celebrations included invitations to a Diwali reception at Number 10 - hosted by PM Sunak and wife Akshata Murty – Diwali festivities at the Great Ormond Street Hospital as well as other events at the Trafalgar square and the British Airways Head Office.
BAPS also partnered with John Lewis, a leading British brand of department stores, who hosted Diwali celebrations at flagship stores across the UK.
Meanwhile, BAPS is also gearing up for another major global milestone in the coming days. The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, is set to be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later next week, making it the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East.
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His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj arrived in Abu Dhabi this week as a state guest of the UAE to preside over the historic inauguration of a Hindu temple.
*Info: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha