Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha aka BAPS is an organization dedicated to Hindu religion and the belief of manifestation of God. It was established by Shastriji Maharaj, who was a loyal devotee of Swaminarayan, also referred to as Lord Vishnu, on June 05, 1907.
For the purpose of spreading Hinduism and its teachings, there are several Akshardham temples across India where devotees flock with utmost devotion. To be precise, there are a total of 18 countries where BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temples have been established to spread Hindu spirituality, culture, and religion.
History of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
BAPS was founded by Shastriji Maharaj on June 05, 1910, after leaving Swaminarayan Sampraday. The first believer or follower was Sahajanand Swami who later on became a Yogi and believer of Dharma, Ahimsa, and Brahmacharya.
It is said that Sahajanand Swami was born as Ghanshyam Pandey in a village of Uttar Pradesh. In 1800, he joined Uddhav Sampradaya founded by Swami Ramanand (his Guru) and was also given the name, Sahajanand Swami.
After the death of Swami Ramanand, it came on his shoulders to handle Uddhav Sampraday. Since then, he is known as Swaminarayan and likewise, the Uddhav Sampraday’s name was changed to Swaminarayan Sampraday.
Being the true follower of Swaminarayan, Shastriji Maharaj founded Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha in order to pursue the preachings of Swaminarayan.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temples Across the World
There are several Swaminarayan Temples across 18 countries and some of the prominent Swaminarayan Temples are:
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London, United Kingdom
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto, Canada
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Los Angeles, United States
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston, United States
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta, United States
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chicago, United States
Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Complex in Delhi, India
Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Complex in New Jersey, USA
Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Complex in Gandhinagar, India
Prominent Swaminarayan Temples in India
1. Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Complex in Delhi
Akshardham aka Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir is a Hindu temple and a spiritual-cultural campus which is situated at Pandav Nagar in Delhi, India. It displays the glories of traditional Hindu and Indian culture along with spirituality, and architecture. It is inspired by Yogiji Maharaj and created by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It was officially inaugurated on November 6 in 2005 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj himself. There were also several big names present during the ceremony such as Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh, L.K Advani, and B.L Joshi.
2. Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Complex in Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Made in the same image of other Swaminarayan temples, it took almost 13 years in its construction. It was inaugurated on October 30 in 1992. The temple is spread in an area of 23 acres and has been built from 6000 metric tonnes of pink sandstone from Rajasthan.
What’s Common in all Swaminarayan Temples
The Garbhagriha or inner sanctum is the prime place or home to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his divine successors. Visiting this place is no less than a spiritual experience for the seeker.
These exhibitions are an initiative to raise awareness about our Indian culture. These exhibitions are inclusive of recent research about India and our civilization. It is an overall amazing experience for the unversed to explore the Indian heritage while connecting with the essence of being Indian.
3. Abhishek Mandapam
Abhishek is a ritual bathing of a deity in the form of idol. The devotees are allowed to pour water on the idol of Swami Narayan. It is believed if a devotee does the Abhishek ceremony with full devotion then, all his or her wishes are fulfilled.
The magnificent gardens of Akshardham are amazingly designed. These gardens hold and exude a blissful ambience throughout. To beautify the gardens, one can also see magnificent bronze statues that have been used. These statues belong to some of the great role models of India.
Major Attractions in and Around BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple
Delhi and Gandhinagar both are popular places for shopping. There are several renowned clothing markets in Delhi that are famous for trending clothes. When it comes to exploring Gandhinagar, the place is known for traditional Gujarati outfits for men, women, and kids.
2. Food Joints
Many restaurants provide regional cuisines that comprise different dishes ranging from Dhokla to a complete Gujarati Thali. Delhi is another hub of food joints that provides a host of cuisines right from Indian to Continental.
How to Reach BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple
Delhi is the true cultural hub of India. If you want to know about the Indian heritage and traditions then your trip to Delhi would be enough for this purpose. It is located at a distance of about 2,169, 1,422, 1,517, 1,578 km from Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad respectively. Being the capital of India, it has been very well-connected with other cities and states by various means of transportation. Here is how you can travel to Delhi by the following means of public transportation.
If you want to visit the Akshardham temple of Delhi, then, the nearest airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi which is well-connected to major metropolitan cities of India and overseas. The Akshardham Mandir is just 29 kilometres which will take around 1-2 hours to reach, depending upon the traffic conditions. After deboarding your flight, you can take a cab, bus or also consider travelling by Delhi metro.
The nearest railway stations of Akshardham Temple Delhi are New Delhi Railway Station (6.1 km) and Anand Vihar Railway Station (8 km). If you want to reach Akshardham Temple Gandhinagar, the nearest railway station would be Gandhinagar Railway Station. After deboarding your train, you can easily take a taxi to reach your destination from both the stations.
Delhi has very good road connectivity with other Indian cities. The roads and national highways have been maintained very well. Depending upon your location, you can travel here via interstate/private buses or a cab. Otherwise, you can also choose to self-drive here.