Swaminarayan International Tour - Gurukul Hyderabad

Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul, Hydrabad had organised the Swaminarayan International Tour from 19th April to 3rd May. Under the auspices of this Programme countries in Africa such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were visited by the students, saints and haribhaktas. This was the first ever attempt of Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul, Hyderabad a branch of Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul, Rajkot to organize an educational, cultural and motivational tour to East Africa. The main thrust of this tour was to allocate the different projects to the students on various topics such as food, dress, habits, culture, religion, wild life, crops, natural resources, population, weather etc.

The tour was started on 19th with the holy company of Shree Devprasaddasji Swami and four saints and they were accompanied by two haribhaktas and forty one students. They all arrived at Nairobi Airport through Kenyan Airlines at around 9.15 a.m. and were greeted by the members of the ‘East Africa Satsang Swaminarayan Temple’.  In the evening all have visited Nairobi City Centre, Uhuru Garden (Historic Monument signifying the glory of Independence), Sanatan Hindu Temple.

On 20th early in the morning after breakfast at 7:00 a.m. students departed from Nairobi for Masaimara (forest place of Kenya). In the mid way 90km next to Nairobi they saw the Rift valley, which occurred due to volcano irruption before 2000 years. At 12:30 p.m. they arrived at Masaimara and stayed in Mara Simba Lodge. In Safari they saw 5 lions, deers, Zebras, Giraffe, Ostrich, Tapis, Turkey, wild Buffaloes, wild pigs, and different kinds of birds and they also enjoyed natural beauty. They all have travelled around 150 Kms. during the day.

On 22nd in the early morning after Pooja and Aarati  Shree Devprasad Swami discoursed with devotees of Nairobi temple on Vachanamrutam No. 38 Gadhada 2nd chapter for half an hour with reference of various scriptures and life sketch of devotees. At 7:00 a.m. after breakfast they all left for Tanzania.

On arrival they were welcomed by Kantibhai V. Patel and Mansukhbhai Dubasia (Arusha Aggresates Ltd.). On the way at the time of evening, they saw the fascinating scene of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s second largest mountain after Mount Everest covered with ice. The group arrived at Dar-Es-Salaam at 9.00 a.m. on 23rd. Students have visited Wet and Wild Water Park and enjoyed the swimming and water rides.  

On 24th everybody reached Zanzibar Port which is regarded as the wealth of cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, saffron and other spices. After that they all visited the Slave market. Before two hundred years ago slaves were being sold here, who were African people and their life was like animal. Sultan of Arab countries and British government used to sell and purchase these slaves. After that everybody visited the ‘Ajab Mahal’ Museum, they found the extra ordinary work of architecture on the gates, windows and pillars of this ancient museum. And at last visited the gardens of cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, saffron and other spices.

At 6:00 p.m. the whole group reached Dar-Es-Salaam. In temple all have performed assembly and saints have discoursed about the ‘Bhavana’ good feeling, consciousness. Devotees have welcomed saints and gave them the participation Certificate. Premjibhai Varsani, the president of temple committee had given speech about Gurukul and founder of Gurukul Sdg. Shashtriji Maharaj Shree Dharmajivandasji Swami. On the next day all travelled to Mombassa (Kenya) and reached there at 7.00 in the evening.

On 26th after the assembly all tour participants have visited ancient Shiva temple, ISKON temple, Shree Krishna Mandir and Mombassa Port. After that all been to the Iron factory called Iron International Limited of Shree Keshubhai Patel. Here they make thin sheets of steel and various kinds of nails. They also saw the factory of Steel where they convert thick sheet of steel into thin sheet without heating. At 1:00 p.m. all came back to temple for having a lunch and went to sea beach for having a bath. Shree Devprasadasji swami put the palms of water on the head of all students and devotees. At 5:00 p.m. they visited Swaminarayan Academy, a school which belongs to the Swaminarayan Satsang Samaj and also enjoyed the light show at beach. Then they all came back to temple and in the assembly Swamiji explained Ghanshyam Charitra to all children of satsang Mandal and inspired youth Mandal of Mombassa.

On 27th all departed from Mombassa and arrived at Nairobi at around 5.00 in the evening. In a way to Kampala all have visited Jalaram temple, Nakoru Lake, Raft Valley. And on the same day at around 11.30 in the night arrived at Kampala.

On 29th the whole group with all saints visited Victoria lake, the world’s second largest lake, Lake Victoria covered small and big 230 islands then also visited Botanical garden in that region. Then they visited Kenya builder’s factory making pipes and block by computerized auto plant. Then they all went to Didi’s Amusement Park and enjoyed various games and rides. The group has also visited embassy house of America. In the evening all came back to temple for prayer and Swamiji discoursed on Vachnamrut.

The glimpse of the world’s longest river Nile was very fabulous moment for all of them and that happened on 30t.h.  River Nile is around 4,000 miles long and the flow of the river meet the ocean after around three months. After they left for Tororo. There they all went to ‘Tororo cement’ project. This plant manufacture 2000 tones of cement every day and new project is also being launched which prepare 5000 tons of cement every day.

On 1st they departed from Tororo and arrived at Nairobi and visited various Hindu temples. On the next day they all visited 14 falls. The beauty of this falls is unexplainable. After that all went to see the ‘National Museum’ of Kenya in Nairobi. 1027 birds and most of all wild animals with original skins, teeth and bones are preserved in its original form since many years over and above that various important information on the Indian and African culture, Space science, Geography etc have been maintained. In the evening everybody enjoyed the famous Katchi festival of ‘Thakar Thali’ with Raas and music and around 3500 devotees have participated.  On the next day students have finished their shopping and saints have visited homes of various haribhaktas with Thakorji. At around 3.00 in the afternoon everybody departed from Jumo Airport for Mumbai and arrived at Mumbai at around 2.00 in the early morning.

In real sense this tour was not just the project purpose tour but it had become ‘Satsang Yatra’ in true sense. During the course of this tour, East Africa Swaminarayan temple - Nairobi, Shree Swaminarayan Mandal - Tanzania, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir - Mombassa, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir - Dar-e-Salaam, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir - Kampala, Shree Swaminarayan Vistranti Bhuvan -  Mumbai have contributed in great respect to bring this whole tour a great success.

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