Thousands of devotees from across the UK gathered in anticipation today, October 12, at the BAPS Mandir (Hindu temple) in Gypsy lane, Leicester for the arrival of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaji, spiritual leader of the international Hindu organisation BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
The 84-year-old Hindu leader, who is the first Guru to return to the city after 17 years, is visiting the BAPS Mandir from October 12-15 as part of his spiritual tour of the UK and Europe during the build up to Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
A vibrant procession took place from the Sikh Temple, Gurudwara Shri Guru Dashmesh Sahib to the BAPS Mandir to celebrate the prestigious arrival of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaji. The grand reception included live music, troupes of folk dancers and a colourful performance from the Mandir’s Akshar Marching Band.
Darshan Patel, president and lead volunteer at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Leicester, said: “As a BAPS volunteer it’s an absolutely amazing day and we’ve been waiting for this day for the last 17 years for our Guru to come to Leicester.
“It’s so exciting to have him here as well as thousands of people from across the country. The atmosphere has been electrifying.”
Sanjiv Patel Spokesperson for the event, said: “Seventeen years of prayers of yearning have finally come to fruition. His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaji from his successor His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaji has finally blessed the people of Leicester with his presence and tears of joy were overflowing. We are so blessed, as are other people in the city of Leicester.”
The Guru arrives to the city after a tour of North America where he shared the universal Hindu messages of peace, harmony and community unity. During his trip His Holiness also met with many local and national leaders including former US President Barak Obama.