The Uttarayan festival is also known as Makar Sankranti, which falls on 14th January. The 10th sign of the zodiac is called Makar (Capricorn) and entry of the sun into any sign is referred to as Sankranti hence it is known as Makar Sankranti . Makar Sankranti is the first solar festival which takes place after midwinter which signifies the return of longer days.
In the Northern Hemisphere the daylight begins to increase hence the Sun ends its zodiacal Southward journey at the Tropic of Capricorn and begins its Northward journey of the Sun known as Uttarayan. This day marks the decline of the winter season. It also marks the end of Dhanurmas.
On this day Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal - Nairobi was decorated with kites of different shapes and colors.
Sandhya Aarti niyams and kirtan bhakti were performed. In a form of adoration to the Sun as it changes direction, kites are flown and so the sky becomes filled with colour. Acharya Swamishree explained in His ashirwad:-
On the auspicious day of Makar Sankaranti, Acharya Swamishree mentioned that we have to attain the Lord's Murti through our inclination. The Lord has infinite affection for His disciples such that he wants to make them practicioners of yoga. As per Vachanamrut Acharya Swamishree explained that, the inclination of the soul is rotated within the Antah-karans, and is then forced out through the five indriyas. The practitioner of yoga controls the inclination in two ways. With one portion of his inclination, he contemplates on Lord Shree Swaminarayan, who remains within his heart as the witness. He keeps the other portion of his inclination focused outwards through his eyes. With that inclination, He contemplates on the external Murti of God. He concurrently contemplates on the entire Murti, from head to toe. If he becomes lethargic or sleepy whilst contemplating the Murti, he would again fixate on the external Murti. Then, just as children fly kites, he flies a kite inform of the Murti, using string in the form of his inclination, and in this manner, he contemplates on the Murti. In this way, one should contemplate on the Murti through the gnan-indriyas, and then the Murti within the soul should be contemplated on. If a distraction relating to worldly issues arises whilst doing this, one must not forsake contemplating on the Murti. This is the manner of contemplating on God’s Murti according to the Yog philosophy.
Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree in the Rahasyarth Pradeepika Tika explains how one should contemplate on Shreejimaharaj through the gnan-indriyas.; saying that ‘Shreejimaharaj is coming towards me whilst singing;’ in this way, one contemplates on the Murti through the ears. ‘I am embracing Shreejimaharaj’; in this way, onecontemplates through the skin. ‘From far away, Shreejimaharaj is coming closer in His extremely lustrous form;’ in this way, one contemplates through the eyes. ‘Shreejimaharaj is eating sumptuous, delicious food and is giving me that sanctified food, which I am enjoying’; one contemplates about Him through the tongue. ‘Shreejimaharaj is coming towards me, dressed in splendid clothing and jewellery; He is adorned with flower garlands and anointed with perfumes and fragrant sandalwood paste. I can smell that wonderful scent.’ In this manner, one contemplates on Him through the nose. Within the chitt, one should contemplate on Him; within the mind and should think about Him; within the intellect, one should become determined about Him; and within the ego, one should evoke the sentiments, ‘I am His and He is mine.’ One should be proud of this. In this manner, Shreejimaharaj should be lovingly installed into the heart through all theindriyas.
On this occasion we pray to the Lord to tie us with the strings of Devotion and help us live our life with temperance through the colors of asceticism. We also pray that in our life we always impress Him with endurance.
Later the Prasad was distributed to all the devotees to mark the end of this auspicious day.