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Community Spotlight: Harrow’s Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple

Harrow enjoys a proudly diverse population including a number of different cultural and religious communities – each with their own dedicated places of worship and, in this article, we’re shining the spotlight on Harrow’s Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple.

Translated from two Sanskrit words, Swami – meaning master or lord and Narayan, meaning supreme God or Vishnu, the term Swaminarayan Mandir describes a Hindu temple where attendants worship the God, Vishnu. Many such temples will feature a ceremony known as arti which takes place at 11.45am and involves honouring sacred images with lighted sticks, accompanied by musical prayer.

Harrow’s Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple began life on Vaughan Road, West Harrow in 1976 but the original venue quickly outgrew the growing Hindu population of Harrow and was subsequently moved to its current location on Westfield Lane in Kenton. The temple is a large and impressive building much more suited to Harrow’s residents; 25.3% of which are Hindu.

As well as daily prayers, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple is very much a community hub and, as such, offers Hinduism and Gujarati classes, a children’s nursery, a day center for senior citizens and a library and meditation areas. More recently, the Temple has added yoga classes and a holistic centre.

Community Spotlight: Harrow’s Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple Harrow Online
Image: Raj BHD

Throughout the year, the Temple holds a number of events for its members – often to celebrate key dates in the Hindu diary such as festivals. In 2006, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple celebrated its 10th anniversary in Harrow during which sacred bronze idols from the Temple were paraded on floats along the streets of Harrow. The two hour event also included music and dancing and was attended by around 6000 people including Harrow politicians from Harrow East and Harrow West.

In addition to community activities and events, the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple also conducts a number of charitable works including regular charity walks for a range of charities. In 2008, the Temple’s youth wing raised a whopping £50,000 for the Welldon Activity Group and St Luke’s Hospice, receiving praise from Harrow West MP, Gareth Thomas and the then Mayor of Harrow, Lurline Champagnie.