News and Events

Hindola Utsav (Swing Festival)
16 July to 15 August 2011

The Hindola Utsav – or Swing Festival – is celebrated from Ashadh vad 1 to Shravan vad 2 of the Indian Calendar, falling this year between Saturday 16 July and Monday 15 August 2011. Various decorated swings are created in which the sacred image of God is gently and lovingly swung by the devotees.

Installing God on the swing is symbolic of installing Him in one’s heart. The gentle pulling of the swing symbolises the devotee’s efforts to please God and bring Him closer to oneself.

This year at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London – as at all Swaminarayan mandirs worldwide – swings based on various themes have been devoutly created by the volunteers. Below is a selection of this year’s swings.

Doubling Organ Donation Figures for Asians on Cards Hindu Organ Donation and Transplantation Conference
Saturday 9 July 2011

Awareness of the crippling situation regarding organ donations within the Hindu community has taken bite. A packed conference on the matter has successfully raised the profile of the problem, and the drive to move for a nationwide campaign is firmly on the cards. Drawing comfort from the successful campaign launch at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on Saturday 9 July 2011, the Hindu Forum of Britain, Hindu Healthcare Society and BAPS Charities, are already drawing up a tailored strategy to push for a doubling of current donor figures.

Chief Guest, Baroness Sandip Verma of Leicester said: “This really is a crucial conference today. And I hope that when each one of you leaves, you will take the message to at least five other people. Because we are a fantastic community for doing community work, the difficulty we have, is that there are things that are so taboo to us, we find difficult to talk and express about. And, organ donation is, I am afraid, one of those areas.”

Professor of Diversity in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire, Professor Gurch Randhawa, Cardiothoracic Transplant Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Dr Majid Mukadam, and Senior Nurse- Modern Matron at Harefield Hospital, London, Sherrie Panther answered questions from delegates. The conference also heard from the Saminis of the Jain tradition about the Jain perspective to organ donation as well as from Hindu spiritual leaders. Heartfelt testimonies from Hindu patients who are still awaiting transplants, and how the anguish and desperation affect their lives and families were highlighted.

After a number of seminars and public debate, Hindu Forum of Britain president, Arjan Vekaria, identified communication and apathy as the two greatest challenges that would determine the success of the campaign, and the key to giving the gift of life to those on transplantation waiting lists. “The three organizations pushing for this campaign are all focused on this life and death issue, and we are convinced that we will double the donor list figures,” he said.

Representing Hindu Healthcare Society, Dr Diviash Thakrar showed that although over 1 on 10 on the waiting list for an organ were Asian in origin, only 1.3% on the donor list were Asians. This related primarily to a high demand for kidney transplants due to an increased incidence of heart disease and diabetes in the Asian community. The lack of Hindus on the list is thought to be related mainly to apathy and the fear of thinking about the issue of death. However in contrast, in our survey of the community opinions, up to 72% would accept and organ if needed an 66% would be willing to donate their organs. With this in mind the society would like to work with the other organisations in the team to convert this willingness into action and increase the numbers of Hindus joining the organ donor list. The society plans to help contacts at the University level (to target the younger generation) and run an awareness campaign at different community sites.

Representing BAPS Charities, Dr Sejal Saglani was concerned with the 77% figure and the fact that the ultimate decision to donate organs rested with next of kin. “The wishes of the deceased may not be met by the family, even if they had agreed to donate their organs. This is why it is important that the subject of organ donation is discussed within the family. It is not just important to double organ donor numbers, but equally vital to ensure that when a person agrees to register, their relatives also understand the importance of the matter and respect their wishes,” she said. She believed that youngsters were the greatest ambassadors to push the issue to the fore and to spark discussions in family circles. Dr Saglani intends to mobilise 40 BAPS national centres to drive the message across the country.

Vice-chair of the National Kidney Federation, and kidney transplant recipient, Kirit Modi, explained how the medical, as well as the procedural process for live kidney donors, is less intrusive now than what most people think – largely due to the use of keyhole surgery. There are specialized and dedicated medical staff to provide support and advice to family members throughout the process of removing organs from a deceased donor. In Spain, organ donation and transplantation is the norm and we need to learn from their good practice. He reminded the audience that every day, three people die as a result of organ shortages, and it is unacceptable that in our day and age, we have not been able to find effective ways of dealing with this. Transplantation can save resources and it is estimated the NHS can save £500 million per year if we can improve the rates of donation and transplantation. “Donating is not simply giving, it is the highest charity that any individual can give,” he said.

Secretary-general of Hindu Forum of Britain, Bharti Tailor, intends to mobilize 50 organisations that fall under the HFB. She said that a strong communication drive, increased donor-recipient groups and improved chaplaincy services would help increase the donor figures. “We must engage on this issue at all levels. It is important that the youth also understand this problem and the HFB intends to work with the National Hindu Student Forum) to support this. Armed with the data and responses from the conference, we will develop a strong platform to promote this campaign.”

Over a hundred people representing different community groups attended the conference and left with plenty of food for thought. At the end of the day, more than half of the attendees pledged to register for organ donation and expressed their concern at how little knowledge they possessed on the subject prior to the conference, and how afterwards when they understood the issue, they wanted to give the gift of life.

For further information on Organ Donation, please visit the NHSBT website by clicking here.

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

Elderly Welfare Seminar: How to Make the Best Use of Your Medicines
Sunday 24 April 2011

BAPS Charities, UK organised a health awareness seminar on Sunday 24 April 2011 as part of its ‘Welfare for the Elderly’ programme, entitled “How to Make the Most of Your Medicines”.

Ms Minal Patel, a pharmacist and manager at Boots Chemist, conducted the session which was attended by 50 people.

Through her presentation and interactive discussion, Ms Patel covered various topics, including medicine for diabetes and heart disease, pain killers, antibiotics, common side-effects of medication, and where to seek health care and related advice.

The aim of the seminar was to raise awareness about the benefits and importance of taking medicines in the correct manner that they are prescribed. Ms Patel emphasised that medicines are patient-specific and should not be shared or distributed to others. She also addressed some common myths surrounding many medicines.

The participants were educated about the vast amount of research that is conducted for the appropriate use and benefits of medicines before they are prescribed and informed that medicines will only be effective if they are taken as advised.

The seminar proved to be an important and useful learning experience for all who attended.

Over 3,500 take part in the ‘BAPS Charities Annual Challenge’ to raise funds for older people
Saturday 10 April 2011

More than 3,500 people across the UK took to the streets and parks from Saturday 9 April 2011 to Sunday 17 April 2011 for the BAPS Charities Annual Challenge to raise funds for older people and other worthy causes.

BAPS Charities, UK held this year’s event in conjunction with the UK’s leading charity for people in later life, Age UK (formed by the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged) as well as several smaller charities around the country. It brought together members of the community from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages – ranging from three to 97 – to walk, jog or run a distance of 10 kilometres. Over 50 participants took the more challenging option of cycling 30 kilometres around the picturesque setting of King Edward Park in north-west London.

In London, the Charities Challenge kicked off on Sunday 10 April 2011 amid glorious spring sunshine from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden – the ‘Neasden Temple’ – in the presence of distinguished guests, including Paul Farthing (Fundraising Director of Age UK) and the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Harbhajan Singh. Also present at the opening ceremony were Sarah Teather MP, Cllr Harshad Patel, Cllr Mohammed Butt, Cllr Zafar Van Kalwala, Cllr Vina Mithani, Cllr Ketan Sheth and Cllr Yogesh Telli.

In his address, Mr Farthing emphasised the importance of Age UK’s partnership with BAPS Charities. He said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the partner charity for the BAPS Charities Annual Challenge, and this year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet! Ensuring that older people can make the most of life lies at the heart of Age UK’s work, and it’s wonderful to see so many people today going the extra mile to support people in later life.”

Kamlesh Patel, lead BAPS Charities volunteer, added, “We are delighted to be working with Age UK. Older people are such a valuable part of our society, but are sadly so often forgotten and neglected. We hope that this has helped raise some awareness and vital funds for them.”

Mayor Harbhajan Singh also addressed the opening ceremony and said, “I am grateful that BAPS Charities have included my charities along with Age UK.”

Sarah Teather added a few words to conclude the opening ceremony. “I always find it really inspirational to see every generation take part, from the eldest – it is amazing that a man of 97 is about to do a 10k walk – and I understand some of the smallest children are going to be walking around the Temple. It is fantastic that this place will bring all generations together to better Brent and society as a whole. Thank you for everything you do to make Brent a better place”.

One of the participants, Nisha, aged 17 from South London, spoke of how valuable her day had been. She said, “It was a fantastic day out – fun, healthy, and extremely gratifying with the knowledge that we’re bringing joy and meaning to the lives of so many older people.”

The BAPS Charities Annual Challenge was completed in a total of 16 centres around the UK, many supporting charities at the local level as well. These included: Ashton-Under-Lyne, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Havant, Leicester, Loughborough, Luton, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Preston, Southend-on-Sea, and Wellingborough. The local charities supported through events at these centres included:

Ashton-under-Lyne: The Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund

Birmingham: The Macmillan Cancer Fund

Coventry: The Extracare Charitable Trust

Edinburgh: The Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre

Glasgow: The Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association

Havant: Naomi House

Leicester: The Leicestershire and Rutland Organisation for the Relief of Suffering (LOROS)

Loughborough: The Mayor’s Appeal 2010/11

Milton Keynes: The Milton Keynes Community Cardiac Group

Nottingham: The Indian Community Centre Association

Preston: Space: The Multi Sensory Centre

Wellingborough: The Pravasi Mandal

To read a report about the BAPS Charities Annual Challenge on the Age UK site, please click here.

To learn more about Age UK and their work for the elderly, please click here.

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

Swaminarayan Jayanti & Rama Navmi Celebrations
9, 12 & 16 April 2011

The festivals of Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion on Tuesday 12 April 2011 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London. 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 bhajans extolling the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Shri Ramchandraji. These were interspersed with short discourses by sadhus, who spoke of the six reasons for Bhagwan Swaminarayan incarnating on earth, including the way in which he liberated so many souls and established Ekantik Dharma. Yogvivek Swami concluded the assembly by elaborating upon the last reason – the legacy of mandirs, scriptures, and the guru parampara. The assembly culminated with joyous celebrations of the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan at precisely 10:10pm.

Swaminarayan Jayanti was also celebrated on the evening of Saturday 16 April 2011 with a special enactment of the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan – from his birth and childhood, through to his pilgrimage across India as a youth, and the moral and spiritual transformation of countless people throughout his life. Children, youths and senior devotees played the roles of pivotal characters during the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan supported by discourses from sadhus who explained the impact he had upon so many. The dramas depicted the naming ceremony of Ghanshyam Maharaj, his greatness as narrated by Ramanand Swami to Lalji Suthar, as well as the life of Kalyandas of Kadu. The grand finale was delivered through a colourful and vibrant dance to celebrate the birth of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

The Mahila Mandal (Women’s Forum) celebrated Swaminarayan Jayanti on Saturday 9 April 2011 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden. The theme was based on Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s divine leela exemplifying his love and affection. Interspersed with speeches as well as bhajans composed by the paramhansas, the programme provided an opportunity to further understand some of the divine qualities of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

In addition to the celebrations in London, Swaminarayan Jayanti and Rama Navmi were also celebrated at various mandirs and centres across the UK and Europe.

Lights Out for Earth Hour 2011
Saturday 26 March 2011

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London once again joined hundreds of millions of supporters in thousands of cities, towns and communities in a record 134 countries in observing Earth Hour 2011 at 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March 2011.

Buildings small and large around the world – including such iconic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, the Bird’s Nest (Olympic Stadium) in Beijing, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sydney Opera House, the Empire State Building, and Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue – 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 won first prize in the Brent in Bloom competition for the second successive year in 2010, celebrated World Environment Day 2009 with the launch of an environmental awareness drive and the Green Travel Plan, and also using Go Veg… Go Green… as the theme of its Diwali and Hindu New Year celebrations in 2008.

Earth Hour was also observed at BAPS mandirs in North America, including at Atlanta where the evening rituals were performed by candlelight, as well at Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi.

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.

Celebrating Women: Managing Challenges, Inspiring Change In Observance of International Women’s Day 2011
Sunday 20 March 2011

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) observed the centennial celebrations of International Women’s Day 2011 with an inspirational conference entitled “Celebrating Women: Managing Challenges, Inspiring Change” at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

The key objective of the conference was to inspire women to fulfil their potential in all aspects of life, highlighting in particular the importance of personal financial management, broader education and the value of a healthy lifestyle.

The opening session began by joining in prayer for those affected by the recent natural disasters amid chanting of traditional Vedic verses. A video presentation entitled ‘The Strength of Women’, recognising their resilience in adversity, became the focus thereafter. A series of moving and inspiring testimonials were narrated of women seated in the audience who had overcome personal challenges to achieve their goals. Following this, the audience was enthralled by an opening dance performed by a pair of wheelchair-bound mahilas, a glowing example of the strength within.

Health awareness was one of the key areas of this year’s conference, and delegates participated in sessions covering diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, dementia, and iron and vitamin D deficiency. These stimulating and informative sessions were provided by eminent experts Dr Natasha Patel, Dr Devi Nair, Dr Binita Jani and Ms Smita Ganatra. Ms Renal Patel and Ms Asha Soneji also conducted a useful session on oral health. This education was supported by an entertaining quiz with audience participation which reiterated the key messages of the above conditions.

Along with health awareness, the conference also provided an insightful understanding of personal financial management for which a series of talks and workshops were organised. These covered areas such as savings, pensions, investments and wills. Financial experts Ms Sukhneel Goel, Ms Viomini Amin and Ms Anuradha Banerjee were invited to share their knowledge and insights. A session for younger delegates up to the age of 14 focussing on money management was conducted by Ms Nimisha Patel.

Throughout the day, delegates also had the opportunity to meet representatives from some of BAPS’s longstanding charity partners – Diabetes UK, British Heart Foundation, Age UK – as well as other organisations, including Kidney Research UK and Organ Donation.

In the closing session, a touching video account of the courage and determination of various BAPS members was shown followed by a colourful traditional dance by the young women of BAPS. The delegates departed with a meaningful insight into managing challenges and inspiring change, both within themselves and those around them.

Anuradha Bannerjee of Barclays Wealth shared, “I saw a huge amount of empowerment in the room. I have been very impressed how professional the volunteers are in their own work and the time they are spending. I think BAPS are doing a fantastic job in having a women’s wing that is actually concentrating on women’s issues and giving women managerial and leadership roles in furthering themselves and developing other people. Having a place where you can grow spiritually as well as grow as a person is crucial.”

Ms Versani, a guest at the event, added, “This conference has proved to be an eye-opener for me. The inspiration of women will provide me with the confidence and belief to achieve my objectives, and the workshops on health and financial matters were directly relevant to my life.”

Holi Celebrations BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London
Saturday 19 March 2011

The Hindu festival of Holi was celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 19 March 2011. Holi (Fagun sud Punam), the ‘festival of colours’, marks the joyous arrival of spring. The sacred images in the Mandir were adorned with beautiful coloured clothing. Devotees braved the cool weather to enthusiastically offer their prayers on this auspicious day.

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.

Visitors expressed their gratitude that they were able to bring their children on this auspicious day to witness and participate in the traditional way of celebrating Holi and many were very pleased at the way that the arrangements for the festival were made.

Hundreds of devotees and visitors arrived to partake in the devotional celebrations. The festival brought together devotees as well as members of the local community who also joined in the celebrations.

The Swaminarayan Sampradaya also celebrates on this day the birth of Bhagatji Maharaj, Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s second spiritual successor. A devotional programme was held inside the Haveli after the festivities to mark this occasion, in which sadhus explained the virtues of Bhagatji Maharaj and the hardships he tolerated for the spiritual progression of devotees.

Smiley Check-Ups – Dental Health Checks for Children
Saturday 12 & Sunday 13 March 2011

BAPS Charities, UK, with the help of BAPS Children’s Forum, organised free dental health checks for children on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 March 2011 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.

In each examination, the dentist checked for general hygiene, identifying any decayed or crooked teeth, and any underlying oral diseases such as gum disease. The dentists provided the children and their parents/guardians with feedback from their assessment and notified them if they required further treatment from their local dentist. As well as providing them with advice on effective cleaning of teeth, and the importance of a healthy diet which is low in sugar content, they also offered the children a dental goody bag which contained stickers and a tooth timer for brushing.

The consultations were open for children aged between 6 months to 18 years. Over the two days, approximately 300 children were seen. The feedback was very positive, as one parent shared: “We’re very grateful to BAPS Charities for organising an event like this. Visiting the dentist is one of those dreaded things for children, but they have made it fun and educational.”

For useful guidance about dental health, visit the NHS’s website here.

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

BAPS Charities donates over £9,000 to Brittle Bone Society, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Kingston University
Sunday 6 March 2011

A special cheque presentation of £9,003 was made by BAPS Charities UK at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 6 March 2011. £5,001 was payable to the Brittle Bone Society, £2,001 to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, and £2,001 to Kingston University. The presentation coincided with the remembrance of Meesha Patel who passed away one year ago.

Meesha Patel was born on 6 March 1985 with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), or ‘brittle bone disease’. Despite her physical disability, she was always a joy to be around and never allowed her wheelchair-bound state to hamper her studies – she completed her BSc and MSc in Biomedical Sciences at Kingston University – or even her participation in BAPS’s sponsored walks to raise money for various charities. She was also an active and valued member of the youth forum at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London. Meesha passed away last year at the age of 24.

The cheques were presented by Jayesh Patel (Meesha’s brother) and AP Patel (Trustee of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir) to representatives of the three charities.

John Phillips, Vice Chairman of The Brittle Bone Society, shared in his address: “I have been struck by the warmth of the words that people used to describe Meesha. For anybody to achieve an MSc in Microbiology is a fabulous thing, but that’s even more so for somebody like Meesha who had to overcome the challenges of living with OI. Meesha also loved to help The Brittle Bone Society and people like her who had OI. She was a leading light in the charity. She had many friends in the charity, particularly young people, and she was the brainchild behind developing the youth section within the charity called ‘Voice’.

“This cheque is a very large amount of money for The Brittle Bone Society. We are very grateful to receive it. I would like to assure everybody that the monies will be well used in providing equipment such as powered wheelchairs which will help people like Meesha who have OI.”

Dr Mark Fielder, Reader in Medical Biology at Kingston University, spoke of his gratitude and also of Meesha’s strength and courage. “Meesha was a very special part of our lives at Kingston University. She changed our lives in very many ways. Meesha was an inspirational person who came from the heart. Her MSc work has led us to a whole new area of work that we are developing at the University. She was loving, kind, thoughtful, and always put others first. Thank you very much for the donation. We will use it wisely.”

Finally, the Ambassador for Great Ormond Street Charities, Graham Storey, offered his thoughts: “The money that has been donated today will go towards a £50m rebuild for the Hospital which is required to supply the service it does. In tribute to Meesha, I would like to thank BAPS Charities for the funds received for the Great Ormond Street Hospital.”

Maha-Shivaratri Celebrations
Wednesday 2 March 2011

The auspicious Hindu festival of Maha-Shivaratri was celebrated at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London on Wednesday 2 March 2011. 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.


Stroke and High Blood Pressure: Causes, Treatment and Rehabilitation
Sunday 13 February 2011

BAPS Charities, UK organised a seminar on Sunday 13 February 2011 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London to raise awareness about stroke and high blood pressure among the elderly.

The session was led by Dr Babalal Depala, an Associate Specialist in Elderly Medicine and Stroke at Newham General Hospital, London. Dr Depala was supported by Mr Alpesh Prajapati, a physiotherapist.

The session began with information about the causes and risk factors for the development of a stroke. This was followed by details of hospital treatment for stroke patients – the hospital in-patient team and the stroke pathway of care. Helpful ideas about how a stroke can be prevented were also discussed.

Mr Prajapati talked about post-stroke rehabilitation and offered a practical demonstration of the appropriate exercises that can be performed at home in order to aid the process.

An open forum of questions and answers concluded the seminar, which all attendees found very useful.

BAPS Charities Launches Annual Challenge with Age UK
Saturday 12 February 2011

The BAPS Charities Annual Challenge for 2011 was launched on the evening of Saturday 12 February 2011 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London. The official partner for BAPS Charities this year is Age UK (formed by the combining of Age Concern and Help the Aged), one of the country’s leading charities working for the elderly.

The Challenge will see participants run, jog or walk 10 kilometres, and will take place on 10 April in London and 17 April in other cities across the UK. For the more adventurous, there will also be the ‘30k Bike Challenge’ taking place in London on 10 April.

The event will bring together people from a variety of ages and backgrounds as well as join local communities from across the country to support the various good causes of BAPS Charities, including Age UK which helps over 5 million people in the UK each year. The nationwide event will also provide many local charities with essential funds to continue their good work.

This year’s Challenge continues to build on 17 years of sponsored events being organised by BAPS. Previous national partners have included Barnardo’s, The Anthony Nolan Trust, Diabetes UK, The British Heart Foundation, and Breast Cancer Care.

Paul Farthing, Fundraising Director of Age UK, joined BAPS Charities at the Mandir in London for the official launch. In his address to the assembly, Paul offered his gratitude to BAPS Charities on partnering with Age UK, saying: “Age UK is very honoured and privileged to be a partner with BAPS Charities UK.”

BAPS Charities volunteer Kamlesh Patel added, “We are very pleased to be working with Age UK. The elderly are such a valuable part of our society but are sadly so often forgotten and neglected. We hope that as many people as possible can join us in supporting this worthy cause and participate in what promises to be a wonderful, fun-filled event.”

To learn more about Age UK, visit their website at

And for more details about BAPS Charities UK, please click here.

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

Cardiovascular Health Screening Session
Saturday 29 January 2011

As part of its ongoing commitment to multifarious healthcare and community initiatives, BAPS Charities UK held a Cardiovascular Health Screening Session at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Saturday 29 January 2011. The session was organised to assess cardiovascular risk factors among those aged between 30 and 60 years.


The Mandir


The Swaminarayan School Ranked as Top Independent School in London
13 January 2011

The Swaminarayan School has achieved first place in London in the Independent Schools League Table published by The Daily Telegraph on 13 January 2011. The table also confirmed the School as the fourth-highest ranked independent school in England.

According to the BBC’s Secondary Schools Table, using a slightly different system, The Swaminarayan School ranked 20th in England from over 4,000 secondary schools of all types – independent, selective and state.

The league tables chart the performance of English secondary schools in GCSE examinations taken in summer 2010. 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 (compared to 53% nationally) who sat the exams in 2010 achieved five A* to C grades including English and mathematics. An outstanding 97.5% of grades across the range of subjects were in the A* to C band; nationally, 69.1% of all pupils met this level of attainment. Additionally, 55.8% of all results were in the A* and A band (compared to 22% nationally), with this increasing to 88.1% for the A*, A and B band

The School, which was founded by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 1991, has continued to rise from strength to strength over recent years. In the Independent Schools League Table published by The Daily Telegraph in 2010, it ranked second-highest in the country, building upon the achievements of January 2008, when the School was ranked fourth among England’s top independents. Despite finishing two places below last year’s overall ranking, the School actually achieved a higher performance score of 620, compared to the previous year’s score of 609, further demonstrating the continued improvement.

Mr Savjani, Headteacher of the School, congratulated the Year 11 students’ “exceptional performance”, saying, “It’s a credit to their hard work and also the first-rate teaching provided by all our staff here. We must also thank the immense support we continuously receive from all the parents and governors, proving once again that this really is a collaborative project.”

Mr Savjani also added: “I’m actually happier this year because of the higher performance score, even though it didn’t secure a higher rank nationally. It’s immensely gratifying to see our students outperform each other year on year.”

The Prep School similarly achieved outstanding results for the Key Stage 2 SATs in the summer of 2010.

In addition to these 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, including charity work for the wider community.

To learn more about The Swaminarayan School, please click here.

The Swaminarayan School’s independent website can be reached from here.

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

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK – Annual Review 2010
Saturday 1 January 2011