News & Events
Diwali – one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar – was celebrated with great devotion and splendour at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 3 November 2013.
It is traditionally the day when business-owners close existing account books and open new ones in preparation for the year ahead. The ceremony – called Sharada Pujan or Chopda Pujan – also symbolises how one should take stock of one’s spiritual relationship with God.
Hundreds of new account books – in a variety of paper and electronic forms – were sanctified through the showering of flowers petals and rice grains amid the chanting of Vedic hymns and prayers.
A short assembly followed thereafter where Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Diwali message and blessings from India were shared. Ghanshyamcharan Swami, senior sadhu visiting from India, also spoke on the spiritual significance of the day.
The highlight of the evening for both young and the elderly was the spectacular fireworks display. Thousands of spectators, including families and local residents, braved the rain to be enthralled by the colourful 20-minute display that illuminated the skies of North London high above the Mandir domes.
Among those enjoying the celebrations were Sadiq Khan (MP for Tooting, Shadow Justice Secretary, Shadow Lord Chancellor, and Shadow Minister for London), Barry Gardiner (MP for Brent North and Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment & Fisheries), Cllr Muhammed Butt (Leader of Brent Council), Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala (Stonebridge), and Cllr Krupa Sheth (Wembley Central).
Mr Khan expressed his delight and honour at being at the Mandir and said a special thank you to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj for blessing London – indeed Britain – with such an inspiring and beautiful temple and a community that gives so much back to the country.
He later tweeted: “Thank you to all at @NeasdenTemple for best fireworks in 2013 in #London. #Shubhdiwali & happy new year”.
As the crowds dispersed, the volunteers continued their preparations for the following day’s New Year celebrations, including the grand Annakut offering.