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Volunteers Help Make BAPS Diwali Event A Success

December 2005
Volunteers Help Make BAPS Diwali Event A Success

The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Clarkston, Ga., celebrated Diwali on Oct. 30. The event - organized by Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a worldwide socio-spiritual organization that also runs the temple ? was attended by Clarkston's Mayor, Lee Swaney.

Visitors were welcomed by BAPS volunteers and an attractive Rangoli, the traditional floor decorations, made from colored sand and rice, depicting the various Hindu symbols.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration, many devotees, young and old, spent time in preparations, decorating the temple, preparing food and setting the stage for one of the most significant rituals of Diwali, the Annakut. This year's Annakut consisted of an elaborate display of over 1,285 food items, each traditionally prepared and arranged on the steps in front of the deities.

Annakut preparation is an opportunity for teamwork and creativity. "The preparation begins at 5:00 in the morning for us," explained Amrita Patel of the BAPS youth wing. "We have a dedicated team that arranges the various food dishes to bring out the vibrancy of the Annakut and create a joyful atmosphere."

Swaney felt honored to be part of the festivities. Narender Reddy, a board member of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, commended the work of BAPS volunteers in putting together the event.

"Today we pray for peace, prosperity and happiness for our family and friends", explained Dr. Harshad Patel, a psychologist, from Kennesaw, Ga. "This is the time to forgive and forget, and resolve to spend the coming year according to God's and our Guru's wishes."

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