A few thousand devotees of Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Loyadham in Raritan, New Jersey, gathered for the 2nd anniversary celebrations of the temple July 26-31 that coincided with the 58th birthday of its founder GhanshyamMaharaj , popularly known as guruji.
The five-day celebrations were held at the facility of Temple Beth-El. It was attended, among others by Mayor of Raritan Borough Charles McMullin along with his family. One of the highlights of the celebrations was the surprise announcement by the mayor to hand the symbolic key of the town of Raritan to GhanshyamMaharaj. The mayor noted that the religious guru has been a resident of Raritan for 40 years and said that he was privileged to give the township’s key to the spiritual master. The attendees were overjoyed at the announcement and gave him a big round of applause.
On the opening day after the ceremonial worship of the holy scriptures brought to Beth-El were performed, GhanshyamMaharaj began the holy discourse on the SatsangiJivan.
After the discourse, devotees and saints made offerings to mark his birthday celebrations. Pure gold ornaments weighing 2.25 kg for GhanshyamMaharaj was also offered by the devotees.
On July 29, female devotees of Loyadham of all ages performed cultural dances and various religious plays for all the attendees. A newly prepared idol of NeelkanthVarni was installed the next day for the well-being of all the devotees. Abhishek will be performed on the idol once every month.
GhanshyamMaharaj offered Mayor McMullin and distinguished guests, including philanthropist Piyush Patel, with a royal turban as an honor. Dr. Sudhir Parikh, publisher of Desi Talk and a Padmashri award winner, was honored as well for his contribution to the community and his philanthropy. The honors recognized individuals and companies that have made extra achievements in their fields.
On July 31, the ritual of Abhishek of PiyudaGhanshyamMaharaj started in the early morning with recitation of Vedic mantras followed by worship of GhanshyamMaharaj adorned in gold ornaments and with an offering of an enormous annakut.