Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj on Bowness Pier 3 about to take his cruise

Windermere welcomes spectacular international event

Published: 19th August 2023
Categories: Media Release

Windermere Lake Cruises has welcomed hundreds of international visitors today (Friday 18 August 2023), as followers of Swaminarayan Hinduism made a pilgrimage to England’s longest lake.

Windermere is a special place for devotees of this branch of the religion as its founding spiritual leader held his final assembly on a hill by its shores in 1979.

The procession started near the middle of Bowness village near Brackens of Bowness florist.

The “procession of peace” involved around 1000 people who passed through Bowness down to the waterfront and piers before approximately 300 people took part in special sailings on board four Windermere Lake Cruises’ vessels.

Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj and VIPs travelled on Cumbria 1 that has a special place within their religion

The event was led by the current spiritual leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan, His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj. He was accompanied by disciples from all over the world.

Bowness Promenade and the hundreds of followers who were part of the procession

The procession included a magnificent hand-made chariot, pipe bands from Bolton and London and visitors carrying decorated pots. Visitors had travelled from as far afield as Asia, Africa and the United States.

The special connection Windermere has with the faith dates back to August 1979 when its founding spiritual leader, Guru Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa sailed onboard one of Windermere Lake Cruises’ modern launches, Cumbria I, on his final day on earth.

He held his final congregation alongside the lake on a spot which has since been known as Swamibapa Hill. Since then, devotees have returned to the Lake District in a regular celebration of peace and co-operation.

Managinf Director of Windermere Lake Cruises Nigel Wilkinson and Mayor of Windermere Councillor Leith Hallatsch were special VIPs invited to the service

Acharya Swamiji Maharaj cruised on the vessel “Miss Cumbria” which has a plaque dedicated to Gurudev Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. Other vessels also taking part in the special sailings were MV Swift, Miss Lakeland and Miss Lakeland II.

Pipe bands accompanied the procession

Managing Director at Windermere Lake Cruises, Nigel Wilkinson, says: “It was an honour and privilege to welcome these special guests back to Bowness. It is a fantastic spectacle enjoyed by local people and visitors alike. We are delighted to be able to host this celebration of peace and harmony and showcase the Lake District World Heritage Site as a truly welcoming destination for all."

His Divine Holiness Acharya Shree Jitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Maharaj passing crowds on the way to his cruise

Watch a video of the procession

@windermerelakecruises What an amazing procession! Thanks for letting us be part of your celebration & best wishes to Acharya ShreeJitendriyapriyadasji Swamiji Mahara , @SGadiLondon & all of you who took part today. Bowness & WLC look forward to welcoming you again next year. #bownessonwindermere #bowness #lakedistrict ♬ original sound - Windermere Lake Cruises

Slideshow of images from the day

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