After a three month tour of East Africa, which formed His 26th visit to the region, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj returned to Mumbai during the early hours of Monday 26 January 2015. This special day is celebrated throughout India as Republic Day. Consequently, the Indian Flag was ceremonially raised and saluted by Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and Sants from the balcony of Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Mahalaxmi – Mumbai.
That afternoon, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj departed from Mumbai and reached Maninagardham just before sunset. A special police escort had been arranged from the airport to the Mandir.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj was greeted at the main Mandir gates by hundreds of Sants and disciples, who were eagerly waiting for a glimpse of His darshan after His 3 month absence from India. Senior Sants garlanded Acharya Swamishree Maharaj and Swamibapa Swamishree Pipe Band Maninagar saluted Him. He then presided on a golden chariot, and was led to the main steps of Maninagar Mandir.
The main steps of the Mandir had been decorated with balloons in the Indian flag tricolour. Swamibapa Swamishree Pipe Band performed the National Anthem of India, ‘Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya Hey’, and paid homage to Mother India.
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj entered Maninagar Mandir and garlanded supreme Lord Shree Swaminarayan - Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shree Harikrishna Mararaj, Shree Sahajanand Swami Maharaj, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree and Gurudev Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, before performing aarti and the evening devotional rituals.
That same morning, several Sants travelled from Ahmedabad to New Delhi, where they presented a paag (ceremonial turban) in the Indian tricolour to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on behalf of, and with the blessings of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan and Acharya Swamishree Maharaj. Prime Minister Modi wore the sanctified paag during the main Republic Day celebrations that were held in the presence of President Barack Obama.