‘Discover the Journey of BAPS’ – London Bal-Balika Mandal Mandir Yatra
As part of the year-long activities leading to the 150th birthday celebrations of Shastriji Maharaj, the London Bal-Balika Mandal embarked upon a spiritual journey across the UK on Saturday 5 April 2014.
More than 200 children, accompanied by 40 karyakars, visited mandirs across the UK with the aim to understand and cherish the great work accomplished by Shastriji Maharaj. Each of the five mandirs that were visited represented a mandir that was constructed by Shastriji Maharaj, providing an understanding of its history, beauty and significance.
The day began at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London which provided an opportunity to learn about the mandir in Bochasan. Satyavratdas Swami addressed the group and encouraged all to enjoy and learn throughout the day, emphasising that their personal connection with the Sanstha would strengthen.
Balaks visited Luton, Wellingborough, Leicester and Birmingham where they learned about the rich history of mandirs in Sarangpur, Gondal, Atladra and Gadhada, respectively. The balikas began in Birmingham and proceeded to Leicester, Wellingborough and Luton.
The mandir in Wellingborough is renowned for the sacred Akshar Deri where the children were given the opportunity to offer pradakshinas and prayers for their education, spiritual development and for Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s health. In Luton, the group learned more about the forthcoming 10th anniversary celebrations of the mandir. At Leicester, a special treasure hunt was organised to enable the children to work together and build their spiritual knowledge. A series of dramas was presented in Birmingham to depict key events that had led to the development of the mandir and its activities.
It was a fun and educational day out for all, which was recorded in the personal ‘passport’ given to each attendee. This allowed the children to capture their experiences as well as note facts about each mandir. Together with the group photo memento, it served as a pleasant souvenir of the trip and of Shastriji Maharaj’s continuing work through Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
One child summed up his feelings for this memorable trip: “It’s been amazing visiting these mandirs! I can’t wait to come back again and learn more about our Satsang and Gurus.”Another child expressed her sentiments by saying: “This yatra has been fun from the word go. I really appreciate what Shastriji Maharaj did for BAPS by giving us such wonderful mandirs. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has carried on this amazing work now with beautiful mandirs such as Wellingborough and Leicester.”