News and Events

Blood Donation Awareness Presentation BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London
Saturday 3 April 2010

A special presentation was organised on the evening of Saturday 3 April 2010 by BAPS Charities at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London to raise awareness for blood donation within the Asian community.

Statistics from the NHS confirm that only 1.6% of all donors are of South Asian origin – and yet 7,000 units per day are needed to meet hospital demand. The event was thus targeted at the South Asian community to improve this figure and help those in urgent need of blood.

BAPS Charities volunteer Dr Mayank Shah explained how blood donation is an important component of BAPS’s healthcare focus and also shared his personal experience from 2006 when he required 17 units of blood following a gastro-intestinal haemorrhage.

Zeeshan Asghar, Media & PR Officer of the NHS Blood and Transplant unit, provided some background to the blood donation programme, describing the people who benefit from blood and the importance of involving more Asians as donors.

Personal testimonies of blood donation from this community were also narrated, including that of Chandrakant Patel (51) who has made an impressive 75 donations over the last 35 years.

Head Sadhu of the Mandir, Sadhu Yogvivekdas, concluded the presentation with a short address. He emphasised the importance of giving blood as a charitable and humanitarian activity, and urged all eligible individuals to participate in this noble cause.

To learn more about donating blood, visit the NHS’s Give Blood website here.

To book an appointment, call the new ‘Donor Line’ on 0300 123 23 23.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Lights Off at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London for Earth Hour 2010
Saturday 27 March 2010

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London joined thousands of buildings and millions of supporters in over 4,000 cities in a record 125 countries in observing Earth Hour 2010 at 8.30pm on Saturday 27 March 2010.

Buildings small and large around the world – including such iconic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sydney Opera House, the Empire State Building and the Acropolis of Athens – as well as local neighbours Wembley Stadium and the Tesco Hoover Building all switched off their non-essential lights for one hour at precisely 8.30pm local time.

The ‘Neasden Temple’ also joined other places of worship in London and throughout the world to support the WWF’s aim to mobilise one billion people across the world to switch off their lights to raise awareness about climate change and “join together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.”

The initiative forms a part of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK’s continuing commitment to raising awareness about and making a positive impact upon the environment, having celebrated World Environment Day 2009 with the launch of an environmental awareness drive and also using Go Veg… Go Green… as the theme of its Diwali and Hindu New Year celebrations in 2008.

About Earth Hour

  • Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change.
  • In 2008, the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights.
  • In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour where over 4,000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet.
  • In 2010, the global call to action had reached over 125 countries, making Earth Hour 2010 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.
  • Earth Hour is organised by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.

To support and learn more about Earth Hour, please click here.

To support and learn more about WWF, please click here.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Swaminarayan Jayanti & Rama Navmi Celebrations
Wednesday 24 & Saturday 27 March 2010

The festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion on Wednesday 24 March 2010 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London in the presence of senior sadhu Pujya Doctor Swami. The traditional annakut – a grand variety of food to mark this auspicious occasion – was offered to the deities, and at 12 noon, the sadhus performed a special arti to commemorate the birth of Shri Ramchandraji.

Worshippers were able to rock the cradle of Shri Ramchandraji and were given the opportunity of offering abhishek to the sacred image of Shri Nilkanth Varni (Bhagwan Swaminarayan) in the evening.

In the evening assembly, sadhus and youths sang a collection of bhajans extolling the greatness and glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ramchandraji. Apurvamuni Swami then spoke of some touching and inspiring episodes from the lives of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ramchandraji, followed by the bhajan ‘Sonal Suraj Ugiyo’, melodiously sung by Premvadan Swami, illustrating the life and works of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Doctor Swami then spoke on the importance of imbibing the virtues of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ramchandraji in one’s life before the grand assembly culminated with the celebrations of the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan at precisely 10:10pm.

Swaminarayan Jayanti was also celebrated on the evening of Saturday 4 April 2009 with a grand Kirtan Bhakti programme where children, youths and senior devotees sang bhajans describing the daily activities and routine of Bhagwan Swaminarayan from childhood through to the later stages of His life. Interspersed with visuals of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj depicting various passages of the individual kirtans, the assembly hall was charged with an atmosphere of devotion and joy.

Yogvivek Swami spoke of the messages and works of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and urged everyone to spend a few minutes each day reflecting upon one aspect of the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

The festival was also celebrated at various centres around the UK as well as in Europe.

Launch of Olympic ‘Landmark London’ Pin Badge Featuring Brent’s Neasden Temple
Sunday 21 March 2010

The winning designs of the Olympic ‘Landmark London’ pin badges have been launched, with BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden featuring as the selected landmark for the London Borough of Brent.

In September 2009, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and London Councils launched the ‘Landmark London’ competition. Londoners were invited to vote for the most iconic landmark in their borough that they would most like to see featured in an individual pin badge. Each of London’s 33 boroughs were required to shortlist four ‘landmarks’ which, in the eyes of Londoners, represents what “makes their borough great”.

Winning landmarks in other boroughs include St Mary’s on the Hill Church (Harrow), Westminster Abbey (City of Westminster) and the Natural History Museum (Kensington and Chelsea). BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – popularly known as ‘the Neasden Temple’ – won the popular vote for Brent, illustrating once again how cohesively the Mandir has become a part of the local community.

Each of the landmarks has now been re-created into a metal pin badge incorporating the London 2012 logo. Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, presented each London Borough with the first pin badge produced. He added: “London is a fantastically diverse city and the variety of landmarks chosen by Londoners to represent their local areas highlights this perfectly.”

Cllr Bob Wharton, Executive Member for Children and Families, received the badge from Lord Coe on behalf of Brent and expressed, “The Neasden Mandir is instantly recognisable and an iconic image, not just of Brent, but of London itself. I know our residents will wear this badge with pride.”

Cllr Paul Lorber – Leader of Brent Council and keen supporter of the Mandir’s place in the community – presented the badge to BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) on Sunday 21 March 2010, saying: “The important thing is that it is not just about a building. I have always been exceptionally impressed by the community spirit that the Hindu community participates in, in terms of the volunteering efforts and the community involvement in ensuring that each and every one of you makes a contribution to the well-being of our community.”

The ‘Landmark London’ pin badges will be available for wider sale across London in the coming weeks from Runner’s Need, Crest of London, World Duty Free, and the Museum of London.

The official announcement of the pin badge launch can be found on the London 2012 website here, with images of all the boroughs’ badges exhibited here.

The Mandir, in fact, featured as a part of London’s bid to host the Olympics, as a shining example of volunteer spirit and community cohesion – which were also lauded by Lord Coe on his visit to the Mandir in 2007 (full report here). BAPS has continued to work with the London Olympics Organising Committee, and looks forward to helping make the London 2012 Games a resounding success.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Organ Donation Roadshow
Saturday 13 March 2010

The Hindu Organ Donation Faith Roadshow was held at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – popularly known as the Neasden Temple – on Saturday 13 March 2010 with the help of BAPS Charities. The roadshow was organised by the NHS Blood and Transplant unit (NHSBT) as part of a nationwide campaign aimed at raising awareness about the lack of people on the national Organ Donor Register and encouraging them to sign up.

The Roadshow forms a part of a series of events being held by NHSBT at churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and gurudwaras to reach out to various faith-based and other communities.

Approximately 300 attendees attended the event at the Mandir (Hindu temple). From these, 113 signed onto the register with many others considering signing up in the near future.

Dr Mayank Shah, Head of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s Health Services in the UK, shared: “Feedback from the roadshow was very positive with many Hindus rightly observing that signing the Organ Donor Register was indeed a good deed. The information that was distributed was also very useful and we hope people will use this to start a conversation about organ donation with loved ones.”

  • On average, 3 people who need a transplant die every day in the UK waiting for a suitable match.
  • The need for a transplant in the South Asian community is 3 times higher than that of the general population.
  • Yet only 1% of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register are from the South Asian community.

For more information about organ donation or to register, please call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23, text REGISTER to 84880, or visit

For specific information about the NHS’s South Asian organ donation campaign and Faith Roadshows, please use the respective links. 

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Swaminarayan School raises over £1,300 for Help the Aged and Age Concern
Tuesday 9 March 2010

The sixth-form pupils of The Swaminarayan School raised over £1,326 for Help The Aged and Age Concern, two of the UK’s leading charities for elderly people. The money will go towards helping “free older people from poverty, isolation and neglect… and enjoy a better later life.”

The money was collected through a series of specially-organised events and initiatives throughout 2009, comfortably beating the target of £1,000 that had been set at the outset of the project. Among the innovative ideas were running stalls at the School’s annual summer fair, a talent show, and a cake sale. Everyone involved with this fundraising plan demonstrated determination and motivation throughout the challenge, with generous contributions from many others making it all possible.

His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the founder of the School, has always emphasised the importance of serving others, and as such, the School has engaged in a number of charity drives since its opening in 1992 to support the local community and other worthy causes.

The charities expressed their gratitude to the School for their efforts in a special certificate. It reads: “A huge thank you for getting involved with numerous events this year at your school from Summer Fairs to Talent Shows, this shows true dedication to charity work and fundraising.”

To learn more about the great work of Help the Aged and Age Concern (soon to be collectively known as Age UK), please click the respective links to visit their websites.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Holi Celebrations BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London
Sunday 28 February 2010

The Hindu festival of Holi was celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 28 February 2010.

Holi (Fagun sud Punam), the ‘festival of colours’, marks the joyous arrival of spring. Hindus celebrate the beauty, energy and new life associated with spring by spraying colour.

Also associated with Holi is fertility and the Vedic ritual of offering the first spring harvest to Agni, the fire deity. People availed of the newly harvested grains only after offering them to the devas. In keeping with this ancient custom, grains were duly offered to a bonfire lit in the open grounds of The Swaminarayan School.

Despite the cold and wet weather, hundreds of devotees and visitors arrived to partake in the devotional celebrations.

Maha-Shivaratri Celebrations BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London
Friday 12 February 2010

The auspicious Hindu festival of Maha-Shivaratri was celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London on Friday 12 February 2010. The day began with the sacred and traditional abhishek of the Shivalinga performed by the sadhus.

The ice Shivalinga on display in the Haveli entrance symbolised the manifestation of Lord Shiva, and evoked memories of Amarnath in India where a natural ice Shivalinga exists.

Throughout the day, devotees and visitors had the opportunity to offer Shiva-Puja with bilva-patra (bael leaves) and perform abhishek of the Shivalinga with milk. A beautiful Annakut was offered as well, in which many varieties of ‘falahar’ items were offered at the shrines of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shiva-Parvati. Devotees observed a ‘falahari’ fast throughout the day.

Weekend Sabha & Weather Notice BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK
Friday 8 January 2010

Due to the exceptionally cold weather, everyone around the country is advised to take extra care when leaving home to travel to various places, including their local mandirs or centres for Satsang sabhas.

Please bear in mind the following:

  1. Pavements may be icy. There is a risk of falling over and causing injury.
  2. Roads may be icy. Drive carefully at all times – especially on side roads.
  3. Protect yourself from the cold.
  4. Car parking areas may also be a hazard. Councils are short on salt and grit.

Naturally, sabhas will continue this weekend at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, and other mandirs around the country. However, because of the treacherous conditions, it would be advisable for all individuals to first check the local situation regarding weather and the state of the roads before embarking on their journey to their local mandir/centre. If it is difficult or inconvenient, it is better not to take the risk.

As an alternative, devotees can spend sabha time conducting a sabha at home with their family using the material available on our website here.

There are forecasts of heavier snow and even colder weather in certain parts of the country. Please take care – especially of those who are very young, old or ill – and also keep in touch with others who may be vulnerable to the cold. And stay warm!

Best wishes,

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK

Useful Links 

  • Get the latest on school closures and travel problems via your BBC Local website.
  • Check if snow is forecast in your area at BBC Weather.
  • Details of motorway and local road closures and public transport disruption are available at BBC Travel News.
  • For advice on handling difficult driving conditions, see the Highways Agency website.
  • For information about severe weather warnings, see the Met Office website.
  • For information about staying healthy in the current cold snap, see the NHS Winter Health website.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

The Swaminarayan School Achieves Second Position in Independent Schools League Table
Wednesday January 2010

The Swaminarayan School in London has consistently produced exceptional results since its opening in 1992. Most recently, it has achieved second place in the Independent Schools League Table (see page 2) published by The Daily Telegraph on 13 January 2010. The table also confirmed the School as the top-performing independent school in London. This builds on the achievements of January 2008, where the School was ranked fourth among the UK’s top independents.

The league tables chart the performance of English secondary schools in GCSE examinations taken in mid-2009. Schools are ranked by the percentage of pupils gaining at least five A* to C grades, including the key subjects of English and mathematics, which is the Government’s preferred measure of achievement.

For The Swaminarayan School, all 100% of students who sat the exams in 2009 achieved five A* to C grades, with an outstanding 97.5% of grades across the range of subjects also being within this band; nationally, 67.1% of all pupils met this level of attainment. Additionally, 54% of all results were in the A* and A band (compared to 21.6% nationally), with this increasing to 85.9% for the A*, A and B band.

Mr Savjani, Headteacher of the School, heaped praise on the Year 11 students’ “outstanding performances” by sharing, “The secret is teamwork – pupils, parents, teachers and governors all pulling in the same direction.”

In addition to the exceptional academic standards, both the Prep School and the Senior School provide a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for the holistic development of all children. The School Inspection Report published in October 2008 concluded, “The Swaminarayan School provides its pupils of all ages, including the Early Years, with a well-rounded educational experience of high quality.”

To read a report of The Swaminarayan School’s ranking in The School’s News Service, please click here.

Disclaimer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.