Arriving on a horse drawn carriage, the new spiritual leader of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, more commonly known as Neasden Temple, certainly arrived in London in style.
The temple welcomed His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj to the capital for a six day visit on Thursday, June 15.
Many gathered at Gibbons Recreation Ground to witness his first visit to the UK since presiding as the guru, the previous leader and founder of the temple, Pramukh Swami Maharaj died in August last year.
During the leader's visit to the capital, the annual charity event took place, a 10k race to raise money for a number of local charities.
More than 2,600 people took part in the event on Sunday, June 18 this year raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society, and BAPS’s multifarious educational, community and spiritual activities serving children, youths, the elderly, and families.
One of those taking part was seven-year-old Naiya Patel, she said: "I feel very happy to raise money for people who need it.
"It gives me an opportunity to think about and help others and not just myself.
"I am also especially happy to do the walk this year as Mahant Swami Maharaj is with us."
Mahant Swami Maharaj, 84, was born in India, and is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, an important spiritual leader in Hinduism.
He has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Anand Agricultural University and is praised for his virtues of austerity, self-control, devotion, and service.
During his visit to west London, whilst inside the temple, Mahant Swami Maharaj was honoured with various flower garlands by children, youths, elders and sadhus, before addressing those gathered.
He also enjoyed dance performances from youths, and encouraged those he addressed to foster the values of respect and compassion.
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