Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Oldham marks anniversary with sparkling Diwali

Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Oldham marks anniversary with sparkling Diwali

The iconic Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Oldham, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary at its new premises, brought together thousands of devotees to celebrate Diwali this month.

The annual Festival of Lights at the new temple on Copster Hill Road, which cost £7 million to build and was funded entirely by volunteers, involved various activities and rituals coinciding with Hindu New Year festivities to celebrate the enduring triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

Mandir Trustee Anil Kara shares: “We were glad to see so many people, young and old, join us during the festival.

“Seeing smiles on the faces of our visitors during Diwali was the most rewarding part. It was a time when the temple truly came alive with devotion and celebration."

The local Hindu community in Oldham who helped to fund the construction of the Greater Manchester landmark brought £3,000 worth of fireworks for the annual display. The festivities started with Dhanteras, a day dedicated to acquiring and worshiping precious metals and items.

On November 11, attendees from across North-West England observed Kali Chaudas – traditionally held to ward off evil spirits and seek protection. This was followed by the highlight of Diwali, Laxmi Poojan, which saw families come together to worship Goddess Lakshmi – the Hindu deity of wealth and prosperity.

The temple also hosted Kali Puja, which was organised by the North-West Bengali Hindu Cultural Association and welcomed mesmerising rituals to showcase the rich Bengali heritage. The celebrations wrapped with aarti for blessings of the deity, after which the devotees greeted each other, symbolically forgiving any mistakes to celebrate a fresh start and New Year.

Attendees then went to Oldham’s Radha Krishna Temple to pay their respects and the day concluded with devotees offering a huge array of food items to Lord Krishna as a mark of gratitude for the harvest and abundance. Over 100 volunteers helped throughout in the kitchen, operationally and with security and parking.

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Anil Kara added: “One of the most rewarding aspects of this temple is that it has become a place for our community to come together, learn, and share our cultural traditions.

"The significance of Diwali goes beyond the temple walls; it's about spreading love, joy, and hope to the community. We succeeded in making a positive impact in the lives of everyone who visited us during that special time. Diwali is just one of many such celebrations we plan to host here."

The iconic temple, completed solely by volunteers, is an embodiment of the power of community spirit.

Temple President Hitesh Bhudia shared: “It's been an amazing experience. Building this temple has demonstrated how a community can come together to achieve something truly remarkable.

“We hope it continues to bring people together and serves our community for generations to come.”

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Apart from its religious significance, the temple has been instrumental in fostering social cohesion. It has facilities for sports such as women-only netball and football while also holding classes for Yoga, traditional dhol and piano.

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