Diwali celebration in London is so elaborated that one may not miss India. We attended two celebrations on the day of Diwali: Anoopam Mission and Bhakti Dham Manor, Stanmore.
The morning was at Anoopam Mission where Annakut Darshan was organised on the day of Diwali from 1130 hours. The first aarti started at 1200 noon and continued every half an hour till 1600 hours. Hundreds of devotees visited the temple in lots, did darshan of Annakuta offered to Lord Swaminarayana and had prasad.
Anoopam Mission is located at Denham, near Uxbridge and spreads across 14 acres of land. Initially, the Mission began in 1978 in a small home but as the number of devotees grew; The place became small and so the search for a bigger piece of land began and the current property was acquired in 1981. The sanctum was constructed in this plot in 1989. As of today, there is a medium-size temple where devotees offer prayer to Lord Swaminarayana. It is inspired by Guruvarya Param Pujya Sahebji.
An old, handwritten manuscript of shiksha patri, one of the originals, is kept in the temple. The original feet imprints of Shri Sahjanand Swami is also kept in the Mission. A trustee informed that the feet marks, pad chihn, of Swami was originally framed in a glass but it cracked. So a thicker and stronger glass was used for framing it but the same thing happened again. Then a toughen glass and finally, bulletproof glass was used to frame the feet mark, but both cracked. A saint visiting Mission concluded that it was a sign of feet mark having energy and therefore no need to change the cracked glass. Since then, the worshipful feet marks of Swamiji are kept in the cracked glass.
Anoopam Mission conducts various activities for the benefits of families of devotees. Apart from Bhajan, Aradhana, and religious functions, Mission conducts Gujarati classes on the premises for children. There is a facility for holding marriage and other celebrations. It has undertaken development in three phases, the first being construction of temple which was completed in 1989, the second is a community centre and the third phase will be residential block. It will be a grand campus once all three phases are complete and will be useful to the community for social and religious functions.