is a land of ascetics, yogis and the devout. The renowned Mt.
Girnar has a spiritual history of great yogis and sadhus who
have resided and performed sadhna and guided aspirants towards
God-realization. In the annals of the Swaminarayan Sampraday
Junagadh and the district of Junagadh have been sanctified by
Bhagwan Swaminarayan after he had completed his seven year sojourn
throughout India as Nilkanth Varni. Nilkanth Varni first came
to Loj and met Ramanand Swami at Piplana. Ramanand Swami appointed
him as his successor. On 2 May 1828 (V.S. 1884, Vaishakh vad
3) Bhagwan Swaminarayan performed the pratishtha and opening
ceremony of the Swaminarayan Mandir in Junagadh. Shriji Maharaj
appointed Gunatitanand Swami as the mahant, and the latter spread
the glory and message of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He stayed in
Junagadh for 40 years and 4 months.
In the Swaminarayan
Sampraday Gunatitanand Swami is revered as Mul Akshar and the
ideal Devotee of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Brahmaswarup Bhagatji
Maharaj and Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj revealed the glory
of Gunatitanand Swami as Mul Akshar and established the murtis
of Akshar and Purushottam.
To pay obeisances
to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Gunatitanand Swami, HDH Pramukh
Swami Maharaj inspired the newly built BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir
(shikharbaddh) at Akshar Vadi in Junagadh. The three-day pratishtha
festival took place from 30 April to 3 May 2006.
30 April 2006,
Swamishri honored and blessed all those who had offered their
time, skill and donations for the construction of the mandir
1 May 2006,
From 9.00 am to 12.00 noon senior sadhus performed the prasad-pravesh
rituals of the newly built mandir.
In the evening,
from 8.30 pm to 10.00 pm, part 1 of the life and work of Gunatitanand
Swami, ‘Jai Jai Gunatitanand’ was enacted by 300
BAPS youths and children. The colorful and riveting drama depicted
the childhood years and the later years of Gunatitanand Swami
during which he had inspired moral and spiritual transformations.
Through dialogues, dances and drama the brilliant performance
was received with applause by 25,000 devotees and well-wishers.
2 May 2006,
Tuesday; Yagna and Nagar Yatra
At 8.00 am the ‘Aksharbrahma Vishvashanti Mahayagna’
commenced in the yagnashala opposite the mandir complex. The
grand yagna mandap had 200 yagna kunds and 2000 yajmans (participants).
Amidst Vedic chantings the yagna commenced as a prelude to the
murti-pratishtha ceremony that was to take place on the following
day. The main stage had three large yagna kunds with devotees
performing the yagna rituals at the behest of Brahmins chanting
Vedic mantras. The stage also had the murtis of Shri Akshar
Purushottam Maharaj, Shri Radha-Raman Dev, Shri Harikrishna
Maharaj, Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shri Nilkanth Varni, Shri Shiv-Parvati
and Ganeshji, Shri Ram-Sita and Shri Hanumanji and Guru Parampara,
viz, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and
Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
at 10.00 am to perform the yagna rituals. Thereafter Swamishri
performed the arti and pujan rituals of all the murtis.
From 3.30 pm to 6.15 pm a colourful nagar yatra (procession)
of the murtis took place on the streets of Junagadh. The procession
had seven decorated and thematic floats (raths), namely, Sinh
Rath, Mayur Rath, Girnar Rath, Surya Rath, Garud Rath, Hansa
Rath, Prasad Rath and Vad Rath, with the deities blessing the
citizens of Junagadh. The procession resounded with dhun, bhajans
and dance by youths and devotees. More than 300 BAPS sadhus
also chanted dhun and bhajans during the 8 km procession route.
In the evening,
from 8.30 pm to 10.00 pm, part 2 of the life and work of Gunatitanand
Swami, ‘Jai Jai Gunatitanand’, was performed.
3 May 2006,
Wednesday; Murti-Pratishtha Day
The preliminary pratishtha rituals of the BAPS Swaminarayan
Mandir were performed by the senior sadhus. At 9.30 am Swamishri
performed the final murti-pratishtha rituals. Thereafter he
performed the pujan ritual of all the murtis and finally performed
the pratishtha arti. Swamishri also consecrated the murti of
Shri Nilkanth Varni in the rang mandap of the mandir.
assembly was addressed by Viveksagar Swami, Siddheshwar Swami,
Dr Swami, Mahant Swami, Vice-chancellor of the University of
Agriculture Shri B.K. Kikani and BJP President of Gujarat state
Shri Vajubhai Vala. The collector of Junagadh Shrimali and other
dignitaries were also seated on the main stage. Finally Swamishri
blessed the assembly, “It is through the wish of Gunatitanand
Swami that Satsang has progressed and spread. Bhagwan Swaminarayan
had also wished to bless all with moksh. The sadhus live selflessly
and desire to make everyone happy. The uniqueness of Hindu dharma
is that it wishes for the good of all and has given whatever
it has for the benefit of all. Bhagwan Swaminarayan travelled
to inspire morality in everyone and he served without any distinctions
of caste, creed or colour. Narsinh Mehta and Mirabai tolerated
pain and misery to reveal true devotion to God. Today people
respect them because they tolerated to serve and reveal the
glory of God…”
was honored with garlands by senior sadhus and leading devotees.
Over 20,000 devotees were present in the pratishtha assembly.
Details of BAPS
Swaminarayan Mandir, Junagadh
The mandir, built of pink stone of Rajasthan, was completed
in three years.
- Length: 163
- Width: 133 ft
- Height: 71 ft
- Shikhars: 5
- Guru Shikhars:
- Main ghummat
and small ghummats: 21
- Ornate pillars:
- Torans: 140
- Carved ceilings:
79 with 30 designs
- Mandovar and
pillars: 300 murtis of divine incarnations and devotees
- Garden: 37,100
flowers and plants