Month-long Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centenary celebration in Ahmedabad attracts millions

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The Grand Finale Ceremony of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centenary Celebrations , titled, ‘We Will Not
Forget You’ commenced with the grand entry of Mahant Swami Maharaj on a decorated chariot at the
Pramukhswamin Nagar in Ahmedabad, India, January 15, 2023. Photo: courtesy BAPS

The month long celebration of Swaminarayan religious leader  Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centenary concluded January 15, 2023, in the presence of the current leader Mahant Swami, at the special Pramukh Swami Nagar created especially in Ahmedabad, India, for the month-long festival. More than 12 million people visited the festival, according to a press release from BAPS.

The Grand Finale Ceremony titled ‘We Will Not Forget You’ was marked by the presence of hundreds of devotees, singing of devotional hymns, Mahant Swami’s entry on a decorated chariot, and the young devotees dancing a welcome. At the event, Mahant Swami and some devotees spoke about their personal experiences with Pramukh Swami, who, they said, was hard to forget. Other speakers included Brahmaviharidas Swami, the Abu Dhabi Mandir project head and Anadswarupdas Swami, the mahant of Gandhinagar Akshardham, both of whom spoke about the importance of temples and festivals in transforming society through celebrations. Ghanshyamcharandas Swami, Tyagvallabhdas Swami, Bhaktipriyadas Swami, Swayamprakashdas Swami and Ishwarcharandas Swami also spoke about Pramukh Swami, followed by speeches by children and a video presentation.

Mahant Swami Maharaj blessing the attendees at the grand finale of the month-long celebration of Pramukh
Swami centenary at the Pramukh Swami Nagar in Ahmedabad, India, January 15, 2023. Photo: courtesy BAPS

“By Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s grace, the festival has been completed without a hitch. By celebrating this festival, we offered our devotion to our guru,” said Mahant Swami, wording appreciation of all who visited the festival, and, of the volunteers. The celebrations concluded with a mass maha-arti, a colorful dance by youths and fireworks.

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Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth successor of Sahajanand Swami, the founder of Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current successor Sahajanand Swami. He was ordained a swami by successor Yogiji Maharaj in 1961. Named Sadhu Keshavjivandas, he became known to all as Mahant Swami, as he was the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai. Like his predecessor Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Mahant Swami also travels throughout the world with Swaminarayan spiritual messages.

A 30-feet statue of Pramukh Swami adorned the entrance of the Pramukh Swami Nagar which was created over
600 acres to celebrate the centenary of Pramukh Swami. Photo: courtesy BAPS

As part of the Pramukhswami Centenary celebrations, a Pramukh Swami Nagar had been created over 600 acres in Ahmedabad with a 30 feet statue of Pramukh Swami, along with exhibitions, attractions, seminars, films, and shows about the life and message of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The programs also included daily evening assemblies which were also broadcast live. Important highlights of the month-long celebrations were the professional and academic conferences. A blood donation drive was also organized. Other attractions included a glow garden, a light and sound show, and the Women’s Empowerment Pavilion. The Bal Nagari, much like the Disney World, was visited by more than 200,000 children. The whole Nagar was managed by 80,000 volunteers in the 45 departments. During the month, the Nagar was visited by more than 12 million visitors from all over the world who were all fed ‘satvik bhojan’ at nominal cost.

Young devotees dancing at the conclusion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centennial celebration at the Pramukh
Swami Nagar in Ahmedabad, India, January 15, 2023. Photo: courtesy BAPS

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) introduces itself as a spiritual volunteer-driven organization dedicated to foster the Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service, thorough its global network of 3,800 centers. A major initiative of BAPS is to build a community that is free of addictions.

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