The Diwali (25 Oct 03) and
the Hindu New Year festivities were enthusiastically celebrated
at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London. On Diwali
day many people participated in the Chopda Pujan ceremony,
where old books of accounts were closed and the new books
were blessed. Thousands of people enjoyed the spectacular
fireworks display which followed from the safety of The
Swaminarayan School grounds.
On 26 October, the first day
of the Hindu New Year [Vikram Samvat 2060] devotees and
well-wishers came to the mandir as a mark of respect and
to celebrate the Hindu New Year. The Annakut, offering of
over 1500 vegetarian items of food, snacks, sweets, pickles,
spicy dishes, salads, drinks and various other dishes had
been displayed on a 100 foot stage, decorated on the theme
of the peacock (National Bird of India).
Multicolored rangoli designs and floral
decorations lent to a picturesque grand display which was
marvelled by everyone as part of the annual celebrations.
The Festival of Lights was portrayed through a magnificent
stage setting against a backdrop of giant lamps and peacocks
celebrating the illumination of light and color in people’s
Both young and old participated in the festivities wearing
colorful new clothes, enjoying snacks and sweets, meeting
and rejoicing with relatives and friends in an atmosphere
of happiness. Hundreds of volunteers assisted on this most
auspicious day helping the elderly and young who had traveled
from all over the UK to visit the Mandir.
Prayers were offered to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a special
message from His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual
leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha was conveyed to
all. He prayed for "peace and prosperity throughout
Dignitaries such as Indian High Commissioner
Ronen Sen, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Minister
for Transport Tony McNulty, MP also visited the Mandir.