Unbeknownst to the general population of England, the largest celebration of Sanatan Dharma in Welsh history took place earlier this month at Shree Swaminarayan Temple Cardiff (under Shree Nar Narayan Dev Temple, Bhuj). The week-long celebration from 28th August to Sunday 3rd September 2017 was in honour of the temple’s 35th anniversary, and the 10th anniversary of the installation of the main Ghanshyam Maharaj Murti. Over 30 Swamis had travelled from the original temples of Bhuj and Ahmedabad installed by Swaminarayan Bhagwan himself, along with the Head, Swami Shree Dharmanandan Dasji and the Ahmdavad Gadi Acharya Shree Koshelendraprasadji Maharaj.
The week was packed with huge celebrations including Murti Abhishek, a special type of worship; a Gujarati food festival; a huge Raas festival at the SWALEC International Cricket Stadium, and finally a Hindu Mela on Saturday 2nd September, (also in the stadium grounds). Numerous people had travelled far and wide to attend – from India, Australia, Sweden, and the UAE; it is estimated that approximately 3,000 people were present on the Saturday. The Mela itself showcased various aspects of Hindu Dharma: scriptures, music, devotion, the concept of God, contributions to science and medicine, yoga classes, and meditation. You could have even witnessed a big Havan (fire sacrifice), a concert, a bagpipe procession, and of course, delicious food! The success of the event was immediately apparent: people were smiling, learning and attending from all different cultures and faiths.Whilst there was some initial concern about the success of the event (as nothing like this had ever been done before), the level of organisation and perseverance shown by the temple’s devotees paid huge dividends in bringing this exhibition to the wider community.
The celebrations will be fondly remembered by those who attended, and they have demonstrated that Hindu Dharma always has a strong presence wherever there is hard work and effort. Shree Swaminarayan Temple Cardiff has gone from strength to strength and will continue its long-standing endeavours to unite the Hindu community in Wales.
–Dr Hetan Ajwani,
NHSF (UK) Alumnus, and former National Learning Team Coordinator