Blackpool Tower lit up in red and white stripes to honour Guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Image by Friends of BAPS Preston
To observe the birth anniversary of a revered Hindu spiritual leader, one of Lancashire’s most famous landmarks was illuminated in red and white stripes.
Blackpool Tower was lit up in the colours on Monday evening to honour Pramukh Swami Maharaj, a key figure in important Hindu organisations with several temples dedicated to his name.
The celebration also saw monks pray at the top of the tower and a procession take place along the town’s promenade. Several prominent guests were also present at the event including Councillor Kathryn Benson, Mayor of Blackpool and Councillor Neil Darby, Mayor of Preston.
The historic event was organised by the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Preston and Fylde Coast Hindu Society who said it was the first time the tower had been used like that.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, visited the town twice, in 1974 and 1977.
The celebration formed part of tributes from millions across the world throughout 2022.
The guru led the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) from 1971 until his death in 2016, aged 95.
The organisation, which has its roots in a tradition established in Gujarat, India, more than two centuries ago, states on its website that it “promotes harmony amongst individuals, families, and diverse communities” and, with the help of more than 1,000 sadhus – the name given to Hindu monks – and 55,000 volunteers, it “helps 3,850 communities around the world”.
The celebrations in Blackpool were to mark the 100th anniversary of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s birth and were attended by sadhus, BAPS leaders from across the country and other “distinguished guests”, the Friends of BAPS Preston said.
A spokesman said the “unique tribute”, which saw a short ceremony take place before the lighting of the tower, was the the first time the landmark had been used in such a way in its 126-year history.
Councillor Kathryn Benson, Mayor of Blackpool, said the evening had truly been “moving, inspirational and colourful”. The colours of the lights used in the celebration signify purity, peace and knowledge in the Hindu religion.