BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (popularly known as ‘Neasden Temple’) celebrated the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri on Saturday 18 February 2023. Maha Shivaratri commemorates the day Shiva manifested as a shivaling – an iconic representation of the popular Hindu deity symbolising his energy and potentiality.
Swamis and devotees bathed the shivaling with panchamrut (a holy mixture of milk, yoghurt, honey, sugar and ghee) and offered bilva-patra (bael leaves) during which they prayed for the health and well-being of people across the world. Worshippers and visitors arrived at the Mandir throughout the day to offer reverence to Shiva and observe the festivities, which included an annakut (devotional offering of food) displayed to the deities in the shrine.
An ice shivaling, symbolising the manifestation of Shiva, was also presented in the Haveli entrance providing a reminder of the sacred pilgrimage town of Amarnath in India where a natural ice shivaling exists.