Blackpool Tower: Light up event marks centenary of birth of revered spiritual leader His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj who inspired Preston BAPS temple

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Blackpool Tower turned red and white this week to mark the anniversary of the birth of a much revered Hindu spiritual leader.

The event, attended by hundreds of people, marked the cenenary of the birth of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj who inspired the creation of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Preston and London’s Neasden Temple.

Last night’s switch on was attended by the mayor of Preston Coun Neil Darby, the mayor of Blackpool Coun Kathryn Benson and Lancashire’s High Sheriff Martin Ainscough.

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The lighting up of Blackpool Tower in red and white coloursThe lighting up of Blackpool Tower in red and white colours
The lighting up of Blackpool Tower in red and white colours

Following a short procession along the promenade and a ceremonial gathering, the grand lighting of the Tower commenced with dancing and celebration.

Spokeswoman Kailash Parekh from the Preston temple (mandir) said: “It was real community spirit and it was history in the making. It’s the first time a Hindu spiritual leader has been commemorated like this.”

She said it was also the first time in the Tower’s 126-year history that a spiritual leader has been honoured with a special switch-on.

Kailash added the event included: “A chance to chant holy mantras and (have) singing and dancing and be joyful. It was a celebration.”

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The joyful processionThe joyful procession
The joyful procession

She estimated nearly 1,000 people attended including groups from Preston, Bolton, Blackpool, Burnley, Lancaster, Skelmersdale, Fylde, Manchester and across the U.K.

Kailash said: “It was a joint initiative. The Hindu community of Fylde coast and Blackpool felt they wished to join with us in Preston, because we’ve been celebrating and there has just been a festival at Neasden for 10 days.”

BAPS Sadhus (monks) from the Neasden Temple dressed in orange robes attended and dancers from Leicester took part in the celebration.

She said the Hindu community was delighted to welcome people visiting Blackpool to the celebrations too. She said: “It’s raising awareness, respect, tolerance. One of the Swamis (religious teachers) gave a speech in English about the Pramukh Swami legacy, what he had done for the community and the values’s all about helping each other and loving your neighbour. Listening to the Swami’s speech gave inspiration, understanding and awareness of the Hindu faith and what it’s all about.”

It being a Blackpool event children attending got a special treat – a stick of rock with a Happy Centennial Celebration message.

The Tower will be lit up for three days.

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