For the disciples of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury, this summer’s celebrations truly began on Monday 26th May with the arrival of His Divine Holiness Acharya Swamishree Maharaj to the UK - celebrations that will culminate in the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury Grand Opening Festival from 19-24 August.

Pouring rain threatened to dampen the spirits of the hundreds that had gathered at the Mandir from as early as 6am. The Mandir, temporarily situated at Abji Bapashree House, was teeming with young and old, all eagerly awaiting the arrival of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. As His classic white Rolls-Royce Phantom approached the main entrance gates to Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Complex, the rain paused and there was even glimmer of sunshine piercing the grey rainclouds.

Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band, bolstered in numbers by the newest recruits making their debut performance, formed a guard of honour as Acharya Swamishree Maharaj travelled slowly along the path towards the Mandir. Once at the end, He presided on a golden palanquin, where the sponsoring disciples had the honour and privilege of carrying Acharya Swamishree Maharaj aloft for the rest of way. Young students of Shree Muktajeevan Arts and Culture Academy performed a welcoming dance to please Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj as His palanquin and Mandal of twenty sants made their way towards the Mandir. The rain only respited during these few outdoor moments, and started again the moment Acharya Swamishree Maharaj entered into the Mandir.

Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and the sants performed aarti and niyams. The sponsors, the Mandir’s main committee and others performed poojan to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa Acharya Swamishree Maharaj on behalf of all the disciples. This concluded the morning’s proceedings.

Acharya Swamishree Maharaj's Arrival - May 2014