Information on Loughborough

Diwali and Ankut Celebrations in Loughborough

Posted on 11/11/2007
P. Klein

Offerings at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir,LoughboroughYesterday (10th November 2007) saw celebrations of Diwali & Annakut at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Moira Street in Loughborough.

Diwali is a major Indian holiday and festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs globally as the "Festival of Light" where lights mean victory of good over the evil within every human being. The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word Deepavali and means an array of lights.

BAPS was formally established in 1907 and currently celebrating its centenary. It is a worldwide spiritual organisation dedicated to fulfilling the spiritual, cultural and social needs of people while promoting harmony between individuals, families and communities. In the UK it is respected as one of the largest and most active Hindu groups among the Indian diaspora.

The centre in Loughborough has many volunteers that help promote development amongst children and the youth of the community. These character-building activities include such items as music, language, art (the decorations for the celebrations were created by the youngsters), public speaking , sport and of course spiritual development. Locally they are an active participant of Charnwood Council of Faiths and have been involved with such events as Loughboroughs Party in the Park. Other projects that have been undertaken have included supporting the Blue Peter Shoebiz Appeal, Children In Need and a sponsored walk for the British Heart Foundation.

diwali celebrationsYesterdayf at the Mandir in Loughborough, an Annakut of 275 vegetarian offerings, representing the first harvest, was prepared and arranged in tiers in front of the sihaasan (shrine). This was the largest Annakut they have had in Loughborough. However we are reliably informed that today the Neasden Mandir has entered the Guinness Book of Records for the largest Annakut ever.

Throughout the day at 2 hourly intervals Arti were performed which started with offering inner feelings and emotions to God by singing hymns. At the first Arti there was a brief history of the Mandir in Loughborough which was started by one family in 1970. They moved to their current premises in Moira Street in 2001 and the premises are used every day of the week.

Mayor of Charnwood, Joe Tormey, who attended today with the Mayoress Debbie Green said:It was the first time I have been in the temple and am very impressed. I can remember what the building used to be like and am amazed by the amount of work that gone in to the place. He went on to say "Loughborough has a great history of welcoming people. We all have the same desires and wants and that by working together we can achieve those wants

Joe went on to comment of the philosophy of BAPS Swaminaranyan Sanstha and its approach to developing children by saying that it was tremendous having people grow up with confidence.

Minister Jeff Hopewell who also attended an Arti said:Every time I come I appreciate your welcome. One thing I would like to compliment you on is your devotion. Your devotion to your God. Your devotion to your Guru. The devotion to your community. The devotion to your duty. Your contribution in this part of the world is appreciated. Thank you for your devotion.

Mayor of Charnwood at Diwali and Ankut Celebrations Mike Jones, Chairman of Leicestershire County Council and County Councillor for fswho attended with wife Marj also paid great compliments saying:The way you encourage young people reach their maximum potential has our admiration. The way you work with family, men, women and children is an absolute pleasure to behold and we are very pleased in the way you operate. On behalf of Leicestershire County Council thank you for the harmony and peace you bring to this town, county and country.

This reporter was also amazed by the friendliness of the community at the centre that we have seen at various times in Loughborough over the last year inLoughborough has been running. They also took time to explain what was happening and the meaning behind items. A special thank you must go to Atul Patel and Anand Ladwa for there assistance. The inLoughborough team wish them a happy and prosperous New Year.

News Report: R.Reed

Photographs: T.Robson

Further pictures of the days events are available here.