Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in United Kingdom-20

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in United Kingdom

Shree Swaminarayana Temple, Oldham, UK
(under shree  Nar Narayan Dev Bhuj)
270 Lee Street

Tel/Fax: 0161 652 0993
Email: info@swaminarayan-oldham.org

Mandir History
Our Sampraday
The Swaminarayan Sampraday has grown strongly under the guidance of the Acharya Maharaj Shri, respected saints and elders.  Over a short period of time the message of Lord Swaminarayan has spread to all corners of the world. 
The respected saints guided our ancestors in their lives and in their migration from east to west.  Our ancestors suffered great hardships to secure a comfortable and prosperous life for the future generations, for which we will be eternally grateful.  They did this with complete single-minded faith and trust in Lord Swaminarayan.  Today, we reap the rewards of their courage and efforts.

Migration to the UK
In the early 1900s, prospects and employment in Kutch, a district in North West India, were poor.  As a result, the Kanbi communities in Kutch struggled and times were hard. 

Opportunities were identified in East Africa and many Indians were leaving India to work in Africa.  Respected Head Saints of Bhuj Mandir, Sadguru Swami Shreevallabhdasji and Sadguru Swami

Nilkanthdasji, along with elder members of the community urged satsangis to go to East Africa for their future and well being of their families. Thousands of Kanbis left the villages of Kutch and went to countries like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania for work.

In the latter half of the 20th Century, Kanbis were well established in the British colonies of East Africa.  Having resided in East Africa for several years, they had the right to become British citizens.  Many grasped this opportunity and secured their future.  This enabled the Kanbis who had settled in East Africa to migrate to the United Kingdom.

Settlement in Oldham
The first Kanbis came and settled in Oldham in 1965.  The level of education was basic.  Oldham was the global centre of the cotton and textile industry.  The cotton mills in the area offered many job opportunities.  The jobs were secure, indoor and provided a steady income. Over a short period of time, the Kanbi community became strong as more and more people arrived into the town. In the past the Kanbi community has gone through years of difficulty in India and East Africa.  As a result of the vision and direction of great saints we are now all very well placed in society.  Kanbis have excelled in various walks of life through education, hard work and dedication.

Shree Swaminarayan Temple Oldham
Religion and belief in God was a key part of the satsangis that settled in Oldham.  Originally, religious sabhas were held at the Music Hall in Werneth Park as satsangi numbers grew to nearly 500.  The Late Mahant Swami of Bhuj, Shastri Swami Dharmajeevandasji often sent prasad to satsangis in Oldham from India, which was then distributed within the community.

Acharya Maharaj Shri Tejendraprasadji visited Oldham in 1976 and suggested that we should build a temple in Oldham and firmly establish the Swaminarayan satsang in Oldham. Acharya Maharaj Shri presented a divine murti of Lord Swaminarayan to the satsangis of Oldham. This very same murti of Lord Swaminarayan is residing in the centre of our temple sinhasan today.
With the blessings of His Holiness Acharya Maharaj Shri Tejendraprasadji and the Late Mahant Shastri Swami Dharmajeevandasji and other great saints of Bhuj Mandir, a Baptist Church on Lee Street was bought in June 1977.  It was so derelict that everything was stripped to the bricks and then renovated. All the satsangis, including children, worked day and night to have the temple completed for an official opening before Diwali of that year.  With all the time and effort put in by the satsangis, the temple was completed well before Diwali.  The official opening was on 22nd October 1977. 

Oldham temple was the third Swaminarayan temple in the UK.  It was the first Swaminarayan temple to hold prayer services 7 days a week both mornings and evenings.  The temple has been open for darshan every single day since the opening.

The elders were keen to maintain the mother tongue Gujarati alive amongst the youngsters.  Therefore, a Sunday Gujarati school was formed when the temple opened.  This school was the first to be established amongst the Swaminarayan temples of England.  The first classes commenced in November 1977.
n October 1980, a new altar was shipped from India and installed in the temple.  The altar weighed a staggering two tonnes, costing £4,000 and standing 16ft high.  It is hand carved out of teak and took 40 satsangis one week to put together.  It was one of the first of its kind in Britain.

Lord Swaminarayan knew that the Sampraday would be too great a task for one man to look after, so he split the sampraday geographically. A demarcation line was drawn between Calcutta and Dwarika. North of this boundary known as the Uttar desh (North diocese - NarNarayan Dev), and south of the boundary became Dakshin desh (South Diocese - LaxmiNarayan Dev).

Ahmedabad became the centre of the Uttar desh and was named NarNarayan Dev Gadi. Vadtal became the centre of the Dakshin desh and was named LaxmiNarayan Dev Gadi.

Lord Swaminarayan instilled two leaders, Acharyas, to head these respective Gadi's. He decided to choose heads from within His own family, as His father, DharmaDev was well respected throughout the Sampraday. Lord Swaminarayan had two brothers and he chose one of their sons as the Acharyas.

Ayodhyaprasad, son of Rampratapji, Lord Swaminarayan's elder brother, became the first Acharya of the NarNarayan Gadi. Raghuvir, son of Iccharam, Lord Swaminarayan's younger brother, became the first Acharya of the LamxiNarayan Gadi.

Lord Swaminarayan, with other great saints decided only a householder was suitable for the position of Acharya. Since, by the nature of the role of
Acharya, he would be in contact with wealth, women and material issues on many occasions and therefore saints would not be suitable for this role.
Lord left clear instructions for the Acharyas and their predecessors. When lord left this earth to take up eternal residence in Akshardham, He left the responsibility of the satsang in the hands of the Acharyas.

A true Swaminarayan Sampraday, is one which is under the control of one of the two Acharayas.

During His time on earth Lord Swaminarayan wrote and had instructed respected saints to prepare scriptures revealing the greatness of the Sampraday. In the short span of thirty-one years, Lord Swaminarayan created a series of scriptures that would not be possible for any normal individual to compose. 

Fundamentally, scriptures of the Swaminarayan Sampraday are based on famous Hindu scriptures including the Vedas.  The content of all the scriptures by Lord Swaminarayan is based on the subject of religion, humanity, honesty, non-violence and mercy to mankind.

The scriptures written are easy to understand unlike other Hindu scriptures.  The scriptures written are either in Sanskrit or Gujarati.  Any scripture should be revered and it should be studied on a regular basis, to enable a saint or devotee to acquire the knowledge therein.  Through acquiring knowledge and appreciating the divine personality of Lord Swaminarayan, a devotee is able to grow in his love for God. Even though there are numerous shastras, below are the details of the core shastras’s of the Sampraday
The literal meaning of Shikshapatri is the ‘letter of teachings’.  Lord Swaminarayan was highly educated in the important scriptures of Hinduism at a very young age.  His father, Dharmadev, personally taught Him.

Lord Swaminarayan selected key points of importance from these scriptures and made a small ‘gutko’ booklet.  Eventually, this gutko formed the basis of the Shikshapatri that Lord wrote.  It comprises of 212 slokas and was written in Vadtal on the 5th day of the bright half of the month of Maha VS 1882, on Vasant Panchmi. 
Lord wrote the Shikshapatri from His heart, by His own hand.  It is a code of conduct for the benefit of all mankind.  Lord has stated that the Shikshapatri is the perceptible form of Himself. The Shikshapatri was the only scripture that Lord Swaminarayan had wrote down himself.
Vachnamrut is the nectar of all the spiritual and philosophical knowledge extracted by Lord Swaminarayan from all the Hindu scriptures for easy understanding for the satsangis.
It contains all the spiritual and philosophical understanding of questions asked by the saints and other devotees, and the replies given by Lord Swaminarayan.  Many a time, Lord has asked the questions and He has also answered them.  The questions relate to cosmic evolution, welfare of mankind and ultimate salvation.

In each and every Vachnamrut, the day of the fortnight, the month, the time, the year and the place where each sabha is held is stated.  A clear description is given about Lord’s appearance that day, His clothing, ornaments, garlands put on by the Lord, the direction of His face and the name of the main members in the assembly are described in the first paragraph. This proves that the Lord was present when the questions were actually asked and answered, they were factual and not imaginary or created by someone. The name of the person asking the question is also mentioned in each of the Vachnamrut.
The great saints Shukanand Swami, Muktanand Swami, Gopalanand Swami, Brahmanand Swami and Nityanand Swami heard, collected and compiled the original words of Lord Swaminarayan and got them authenticated by Him. These Vachnamrut were thousands in number, but our Lord has selected only 273.

Vachnamrut is the main scripture of our sampraday and we have an immense amount to learn from it.  If anybody reads them attentively, they need not read any other scripture for their ultimate salvation.  The Vachnamrut is held in such high regard that discourses from it are recited daily in all Swaminarayan temples.
Satsangi Jeevan
Shreemad Satsangijeevan is the core scripture of the Swaminarayan Sampraday.  This divine scripture describes the life of Lord Swaminarayan for all the period He spent on Earth.  It was prepared in order to enlighten devotees of the divine personality of Lord Swaminarayan.  It covers the philosophy, spiritual wisdom, devotion and non-attachment of worldly objects of Lord Swaminarayan.

Shatanand Swami wrote the scripture, through the divine inspiration and request of Lord. Shatanand Swami compiled the scripture sitting next to Lord.  Lord would read each chapter and comment on the supremacy of the literary piece created.  The scripture written in Sanskrit contains 319 chapters.  On the completion of the Shreemad Satsangijeevan, Lord took it on His head in an act of joy.

When Lord took departure from the earth in Gadhada, saints and devotees became inconsolable and extreme sadness filled the air.  It was at this point that this great scripture was recited.  It kindled the fond memories of Almighty God Supreme in the hearts of saints and devotees.


This scripture was composed by Nishkulanand Swami in poetic form, under the divine guidance of Lord Swaminarayan.  It describes the activities of Lord Swaminarayan during His lifetime.  The Bhaktachintamani is aimed to bring peace and upliftment to the souls of satsangis.  Events and festivals that occurred during the lifetime of Lord Swaminarayan have been mentioned in some detail within the literature.

Shree Hari Digvijay
This scripture consists of 49 chapters.  Nityanand Swami under the order of Lord Swaminarayan composed ShreeHari Digvijay.  This scripture describes and proves that Lord Swaminarayan was Almighty God Supreme, through numerous discussions and debates.
Role of Acharyas
When Lord Swaminarayan left His mortal body and returned to Akshardham, He personally left the responsibility of the sampraday in the hands of the two Acharyas, along with guidance from head saints and satsangis. Lord Swaminarayan authorised the two Acharyas to install murtis of God in His temples and perform the ceremonies and rituals at these temples. Lord Swaminarayan clearly stated that He would only reside in the murtis at temples, where the Acharyas had performed the initiation ceremonies. 
“My disciples shall worship only those idols of Shree Krishna which are given to them by the Acharyas, or installed by him. They shall bow down respectfully to other idols but shall not worship them.” ( Shikshapatri Sloka 62)
Nand Santos 
Ramanand Swami - Guru of Lord Swaminarayan , Muktanand Swami - Mother of Sampraday ,
Gopalanand Swami - Yogi Raj,  Brahmanand Swami - Kavi Raj , Nityanand Swami – Pandit ,
Premanand Swami – Premsakhi, Nishkulanand Swami - Vairagya Murti,
Devanand Swami,  Vasudevanand Brahmchari,  Shatanand Swami (Santdasji) , Bhumanand Swami,
Shukanand Swami (Shuk Muni) - Personal Secretary of the Lord , 

Dadakhachar  Joban Pagi  Parvatbhai of Agatrai Ladhiba
  Manaki Ghodi

Recent Events:
Shree Swaminarayan Temple Oldham Yuvak Madal organised a day of adventurous fun at Castleshaw Centre
Shree Swaminarayan Temple Oldham held Nishkulanand Kavya Antargat Hrudaya Prakash pancha parayan recited by santos from Bhuj

Up Coming Events:
  • 12/7/2014 - Guru Purnima
  • 12/7/2014 - Mukutotsav Poonam
  • 12/7/2014 - SST Wiilesden, UK, Patotsav
  • 14/7/2014 - Hindola Begins
  • 19/7/2014 - Kalashtmi

Opening Times:
Monday – Sunday
Mornings 7.30am - 10:00am
Evenings 4:00pm – 7:00pm

270 Lee Street

Tel/Fax: 0161 652 0993
Email: info@swaminarayan-oldham.org

Other Contacts
Yuvak Mandal Email: ssym@swaminarayan-oldham.org

From the South via the M6.

Proceed North along the M6, then onto the A56 at Jct 19 (following signs for Manchester Airport). From A56 proceed until end and take turning at roundabout for M56 (still following signs for Manchester Airport). Once on the M56, follow signs for Stockport M60, you will pass Manchester Airport on the M56.

Once on the M60 follow signs for Oldham, coming off at junction 22.

Turn taking direction towards Oldham town centre, this is Manchester Road. Then turn right on to Chamber Road, this is where the road turns into 4 lanes from 2, and there are Renault and VW garages on the left. Once onto Chamber Road proceed up the hill up to the traffic lights, go through the traffic lights. Carry on up Chamber Road and over the crest of the hill, this is where Werneth Cricket Club is on the left and a car garage on the right. Take the second right, this is LEE STREET, this is where the Temple is 100 metres on the right.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection)

(The Blog  is reverently for all the seekers of truth, lovers of wisdom and   to share the Hindu Dharma with others on the spiritual path and also this is purely  a non-commercial blog)


Post a Comment