On the morning of 28th May 2011, HDH Acharya Swamishree performed Mangla Aarti to Lord Swaminarayanbapa Swamibapa. The Lord was adorned in beautiful fresh flower garments and ornaments. The temple hall was beautifully decorated overnight with balloons, flags, colouful lightings and birthday banners.
A Swagat Yaatra commenced the day’s activities. HDH Acharya Swamishree took his position on the chariot. HH Swamibapa Pipe Band gave a guard of honour to HDH Acharya Swamishree at the junction of 2nd Parklands Avenue and Swamibapa Road, the starting point of the Swagat Yaatra. The Band led the Swagat Yaatra towards the temple. Closely following the band were ‘Sahi Swagat’ memebrs carrying ceremonial offerings of dry fruits and flower garlands. Sant mandal and other devotees were next followed by HDH Acharya Swamishree’s chariot which was pulled by young devotees. Everyone had a birthday party hat on their head.
As the Swagat Yaatra entered the temple compound, the sant mandal adorned HDH Acharya Swamishree with fresh flower garments. Young devotees performed dances as HDH Acharya Swamishree entered the temple hall. A cart beautifully decorated with fresh flowers waited for HDH Acharya Swamishree at the entrance of the temple hall. HDH Acharya Swamishree together with Harikrishna Maharaj stood majestically on the cart. As the cart was driven towards the sihasan, sant and devotees showered HDH Acharya Swamishree with flower petals. Young devotees performed another delicate dance to please Lord Swaminarayan.
A lavish ankoot was arranged at the lotus feet of Lord Swaminarayan. HDH Acharya Swamishree cut a cake and offered it to Lord Swaminaraya and performed ankoot aarti. HDH Acharya Swamishree again took his position on the cart which took him to his gadi. Members of Sahi Swagat then placed their offerings at the lotus feet of Muktajeevan Swamibapa. Young devotees yet again performed another dance. Next was the presentation of the Birthday Cake. The cake was placed on a decorated trolley which was pushed by committee members from the entrance of the temple hall to HDH Acharya Swamishree’s gadi. HDH Acharya Swamishree cut the cake as the congregation applauded and cheered ecstatically.
Everyone then took their position in the sabhaa ready to listen to HDH Acharya swamishree’s divine ashirvad. HDH Acharya Swamishree blessed everyone and imparted their souls with spirituality. On this auspicious day devotees then pleased Lord Swaminarayan by offering aarti. HDH Acharya Swamishree then gave each devotee a gift of a sweet in form of a ‘penda’. Next activity was the luncheon in HH Swamibapa Hall. HDH Acharya swamishree and sant mandal took lunch prasad on the stage which was skillfully decorated by expert decorators and designers. The devotees took their lunch prasad in the basement hall.
In the evening, after the daily routines, a grand samuh raas was organized to mark the end of 69th and commencement of 70th birthday celebrations. Devotees and sant mandal provided live music for the occasion. As the samuh raas progressed, flags in the ceiling of the temple hall showing 69th birthday were gradually replaced by those showing 70th birthday. This was so delicately done that those who were not observant did not notice this activity. After the samuh raas was the display of lighting show and fireworks. HDH Acharya Swamishree stood on the cart that took him round the temple compound. He was adorned in delicately made flower garland embedded with multicoloured lights. Laser lights which produced multi coloured patterns covered the floors, walls and the entire area with effervescent light patterns. To end the day’s celebration, a colorful display of fireworks lit the dark skies. Everyone dispersed late in the night with a packet of mahaprasad and unforgettable memories of the day.