Shastriji Maharaj initiated the installation of the moorti of Purna-Purushottam Sahajanand Swami along with Anaadi Mool Akshar Moorti Gunatitanand Swami in the center of temples.
1. BOCHASAN - June 5, 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj
- Lord Swaminarayan visited this town 32 times, first as Neelkanth Varni in 1799 at the local Ramji temple.
- A villager by the name of Kashidas Mota and his mother Naniba asked Neelkanth Varni to stay in Bochasan - Lord Swaminarayan promised He would, with His Devotee. Prior to the installation of Lakshmi-Narayan in Vadtal, Lord Swaminarayan asked saints to go to Vadodara to get the moortis
. Due to rain, the cart got stuck near Bochasan, so Kashidas and devotees helped bring the moortis
to his home. Kashidas and Naniba served the moortis
for some time. When Lord Swaminarayan came to get the moortis
, Kashidas asked for a local temple, and Lord Swaminarayan gave a similar promise.
- The moortis
of the two Acharyas are the moortis
that Neelkanth Varni sanctified during His stay at the Ramji temple.
- Hira Mukhi, a descendent of Kashidas, was a dacoit but transformed with Shastriji Maharaj's blessings during the temple's construction.
2. SARANGPUR - May 8, 1916 by Shastriji Maharaj
- Lord Swaminarayan wanted to build the temple in Gadhada on top of the hill on the bank of the Ghela River. Dada Khachar's uncle, Jiva Khachar, however did not give up his part of the land for the construction. Thus Lord Swaminarayan rode out to Sarangpur, where Jiva Khachar of Sarangpur (another devotee of the same name) requested Lord Swaminarayan to build a temple. But Dada Khachar and his sisters came there and beseeched Lord Swaminarayan that Gadhada is "Yours," and that a temple be built on the darbaar
premises. Shastriji Maharaj fulfilled Lord Swaminarayan's promise to Jiva Khachar of Sarangpur. (Shastriji Maharaj later also fulfilled Lord Swaminarayan's wish of the temple location in Gadhada.)
- Maharaja Dolatsinhji of Limbdi State donated the land. Jhaverbhai Diwan of Limbdi introduced the Maharaja to Shastriji Maharaj.
- Shastriji Maharaj personally saw the temple's perfect construction. An example was with the stairs leading up to the main temple: while people were concerned of diminishing funds, Shastriji Maharaj repeatedly ordered the stairs reshaped to perfection. It is currently the largest Swaminarayan temple.
- Shastriji Maharaj passed away here in 1951. Yogi Bapa and Kakaji made a memorial shrine in the location, consecrated on March 12, 1952.
3. GONDAL - May 24, 1934 by Shastriji Maharaj
- Lord Swaminarayan often visited the area, bathing in the Gondali River.
- In 1867, King Abhaysinh Darbar of Ganod constructed a small shrine at the place where Gunatitanand Swami was cremated (Swami's asthi
was placed in a copper urn and burried in the ground), called Akshar Deri. Balmukund Swami of Junagadh consecrated Swaminarayan Bhagwan's charnarvind
in the shrine.
- Gunatitanand Swami came in Narayanji Maharaj of Virsad's dream and asked to have a temple built there. Narayanji told his disciples, including Haribhai Amin of Virsad, who asked King Bhagvatsinhji of Gondal for the farm land to construct the temple.
- The king gave three conditions under which he would allow a temple to be built: (1) the temple should be tall enough that it can be seen from the main road and strong enough that it would remain standing forever, (2) the three-spired temple must be ready in three years, and (3) there should be the willingness to spend one million rupees on the project. He also asked that Gunatitanand Swami's memorial shrine remain intact.
- Narayanji Maharaj and Haribhai Amin, who had bought the land for 25 thousand rupees from the king, donated the land to Shastriji Maharaj and asked him to build the temple.
- During the temple's construction in 1933, when Yogi Bapa was bitten by a poisonous cobra, Shastriji Maharaj declined the doctor's medical treatment and instead displayed the power of the Swaminarayan mahaamantra (as given in Swami Ni Vato 1/154).
- Shastriji Maharaj appointed Yogi Bapa as the mahant
of the temple.
- On February 3, 1952, Kakaji was given a 3-day samaadhi by Yogi Bapa in front of Ghanshyam Maharaj (which was sculpted according to Swaminarayan Bhagwan's measurements, under the guidance of Shastriji Maharaj in Jaipur).
- After passing away in Bombay in 1971, Yogi Bapa's body was transported to Gondal, and his memorial shrine made adjacent to the temple.
4. ATLADRA - July 12, 1945 by Shastriji Maharaj
- Lord Swaminarayan visited this town (today a part of Vadodara) many times.
- Mathurbhai Makanddas bought the land that was sanctified by Lord Swaminarayan (belonging to Mulu Methar and Krishna Mali), and gave it to Shastriji Maharaj.
- Shastriji Maharaj's Suvarna Tula Mahotsav (85th Birthday Celebration) was celebrated here on Vasantpanchmi on February 3, 1949.
- Yogi Bapa toiled day and night, visiting villages despite frail health, to celebrate Shastriji Maharaj's Centenary here in 1965.
5. GADHADA - May 16, 1951 by Yogi Bapa
- In 1947, India gained independence, and Govindsinh Chudasama was appointed as the Collector of Bhavnagar State. Along with Dada Khachar's successors, Govindsinh helped get the land to Shastriji Maharaj where Lord Swaminarayan originally envisioned the temple (on top of the hill).
- Kakaji donated 51 thousand rupees for the temple and Shastriji Maharaj embraced him with chandan (sandalwood-paste).
- On May 8, Shastriji Maharaj bathed and worshiped the moortis, and returned to Sarangpur. He passed away on May 10. As planned, Yogi Bapa continued with the installation ceremony on May 16.
- Yogi Bapa's wished to make educated youths into saints. Yogi Bapa asked Kakaji to help in this cause. In 1961, in celebration of Yogi Bapa's 70th Birthday and during the temple's Kalash Vidhi, 51 educated youths were initiated into sainthood.
6. AHMEDABAD (Shahibaug) - May 11, 1962 by Yogi Bapa
- Lord Swaminarayan first visited the area near Lake Kankaria in 1799, bathed in the Sabarmati River, and walked through the fruit orchard (Shahibaug), where Fuldol was often celebrated with saints.
- A small home in Amli Vali Pol, Ahmedabad had served as the headquarters.
- Lord Swaminarayan came in Ashabhai's dream to purchase the land for an AksharPurushottam temple.
7. BHADRA - April 23, 1969 by Yogi Bapa
- Bhadra is the birthplace of Gunatitanand Swami and was graced by Lord Swaminarayan 26 times. God stayed at Vashram Suthar's home; visited the homes of devotees like Bholanath Jani (revealing Mulji as His Abode); and bathed in the Und River.
- The old Swaminarayan Mandir and Smruti Chowk were the homes of Vashram Suthar and his eldest sister, Harbai.
- Shastriji Maharaj was received at Bhadra by Mandan Bhagat (who was graced with samaadhi
), Nanjibhai (who pulled his cart himself for Shastriji Maharaj), and devotees in 1936.
- Krishnaji Ada's disciples, Jhaverchand Juthabhai and Sheth Hirjibhai Ratanji, procured the homes where Gunatitanand Swami was born at a public auction in 1941-43. (Dosabhai Bhanderi was a kanbi
devote from Atmanand Swami's time. He and Swami's grandfather Vallabhram shared a residence. Unable to pay state taxes, his descendant, Rajabhai Bhavanbhai Bhanderi parted with the home.)
- Shastriji Maharaj consecrated a memorial shrine with the footprints of Lord Swaminarayan over the birthplace of Gunatitanand Swami on October 20, 1943. In 1948, an embossed marble moorti
of AksharPurushottam (which Shastriji Maharaj had earlier done aaratee
to in Gondal) was placed in a small temple next to the memorial shrine.
- Yogi Bapa's birthday was celebrated in Bhadra on June 3, 1959.
- On May 19, 2010, Pramukh Swamiji moved the same Dham-Dhami-Mukta moorti
that Yogi Bapa installed in the one-shikhar mandir
to a grand five-shikhar mandir
. The embossed moorti
is also at the new temple.
Today, under the leadership of Pramukh Swamiji (whom Shastriji Maharaj appointed as the president in 1950), Mahant Swamiji, Doctor Swamiji, and saints, there are many AksharPurushottam temples throughout the world. The temples in Gandhinagar, London, Nairobi, Houston, Chicago, and Delhi are monumental examples of the work of the BAPS Organization (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha).
|Bochasan||Harikrishna Maharaj and Lakshmi-Narayan||Small Icharamji Maharaj, Akshar-Purushottam, Small Raghuvirji Maharaj||Sukhshayaa|
|Sarangpur||Mulji Brahmchaari, Harikrishna Maharaj, and Radha-Gopinath||Sukhshayaa / Guruparamparaa||Mukta-Akshar-Purushottam||Ghanshyam Maharaj||Dharmakul (Ayodhyaprasadji Maharaj, Raghuvirji Maharaj, Ghanshyam Maharaj, Dharamadev, and Bhaktimata)|
|Atladra||Harikrishna Maharaj and Lakshmi-Narayan||Mukta-Akshar-Purushottam||Sukhshayaa / Guruparamparaa|
|Gadhada||Harikrishna Maharaj and Radha-Gopinath||Mukta-Akshar-Purushottam||Sukhshayaa / Guruparamparaa|
|Ahmedabad||Harikrishna Maharaj and Radha-Krishna||Guruparamparaa||Mukta-Akshar-Purushottam||Sukhshayaa / Laalji Maharaj||Ghanshyam Maharaj|
|BAPS today||Harikrishna Maharaj and Radha-Krishna||Guruparamparaa||Akshar-Purushottam||Sukhshayaa||Ghanshyam Maharaj|