Historical connections between the Swaminarayan Sampraday and New Delhi from the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan to the inauguration of Swaminarayan Akshardham.
With the blessings of Shastriji Maharaj, the then president of the Labour Movement, Gulzarilal Nanda, is appointed as vice president of the Ayojan Panch. He is the first BAPS devotee to become resident in Delhi.
Invited by Gulzarilal Nanda, Yogiji Maharaj visits Delhi for the first time. Devotees inspired by his company and discourses.
Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj visit Delhi en route to their pilgrimage to Chhapaiya. Devotees encouraged to establish a regular Satsang centre.
Yogiji Maharaj visits Delhi on way to Chhapaiya. Devotees honour him.
Yogiji Maharaj expresses his wish to build a shikharbaddh mandir on the banks of river Yamuna. Continuous guidance and encouragement via letters to Kishorebhai Gadhia, Chandrakantbhai Trivedi and other devotees of Delhi to acquire land.
Yogiji Maharaj sends a specially sanctified flower garland for Lt. Governor of Delhi, Adityanath Jha. Devotees present the garland to him and make a request for the land.
Repeated visits to Delhi by Ishwarcharan Swami to acquire privately owned land. Formal application to Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for suitable land.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj visits Delhi to assess suitability of some privately owned sites in areas around Kutub Minar, Suraj Kund, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad. But, since Yogiji Maharaj’s wish was for land on the banks of Yamuna, Pramukh Swami Maharaj insists that efforts be made for land on the Yamuna banks.
Inauguration of Akshardham in Gandhinagar. Pramukh Swami Maharaj revives efforts for land in New Delhi.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj posts Dharmavatsal Swami and other sadhus at New Delhi to oversee Satsang activities.
Shri Narendrabhai Wadhwana and family build a hari mandir on their plot in Gujarat Vihar and donate it to BAPS. Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs murti-pratishtha on 26 February 1994.
DDA commissions Government of India’s Pune-based Central River and Power Research Institute to prepare a model study of the flow of the Yamuna. Based on this, development plans are made.
On 8 April 1997, during the 56th meeting of the Government of India’s Yamuna Committee, the DDA’s plans are approved by the committee’s 28 members, including, the chief engineers of three states (Delhi, UP, Haryana), Northern Railway Board and National Highway Authority and a ‘No Objection’ certificate is issued.
As per the suggestion of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission, the Government of India’s Nagpur-based National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), assesses the DDA’s entire development plans from an environmental perspective. After its thorough study, NEERI declares, “This land should be used for cultural or spiritual projects.”
On 19 January2000, the DDA writes to the BAPS, formally offering the land. On Poshi Punam, 21 January 2000, this letter is presented to Pramukh Swami Maharaj at Dabhan, the place where Gunatitanand Swami was initiated by Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Pramukh Swami Maharaj places the letter at the feet of Shri Harikrishna Maharaj.
Friday, Chaitra vad 2, V.S 2057. Officials of the DDA formally sell the land to BAPS, at its public selling price. Thus, after 32 years of patient effort and prayers, land is acquired on the banks of Yamuna. On 24 April 2000, the first mahapuja of the land is performed. Sadhus and volunteers begin to stay in tents pitched amid Jambu trees on the land.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj arrives on the land for the first time. Shri Harikrishna Maharaj is installed on a specially prepared seat beneath a Jambu tree. Pramukh Swami Maharaj sits there to view and discuss the site plans. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is in high spirits and prays, “May this plan be so designed that it lasts for thousands of years and the construction be such that there are no problems for thousands of years. May people from all over the world come here to benefit from darshan and may God redeem all…” In this way, Swamishri makes nine wishes (see box), then performs the arti of the land. He performs prostrations to Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and to the land, and also instructs everyone present to offer prostrations to the land.
On Wednesday, Kartik sud 10, VS 2057, the shilanyas ceremony for Swaminarayan Akshardham is performed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Swamishri performs the Vedic rituals and places small brass kalashes filled with water and soil from 101 sacred pilgrim places into the ground. Over 500 devotees from India and abroad participate in this auspicious ceremony. Also, nine shilas (stones) are ritually placed at the bottom of the foundation pit along with the sacred remains of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj.
Ishwarcharan Swami inaugurates ‘Shri Swaminarayan Karkhana’ at Sikandra in the Dausa district of Rajasthan, to facilitate the stone work for the project.
Friday, Vaishakh sud 11, VS 2057, Ishwarcharan Swami and sadhus perform the shilanyas ceremony for the three-pinnacled shikharbaddh BAPS Swaminarayan mandir in New Delhi.
The foundation and plinth work for the monument is completed. Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the Vedic ceremony to place the first sculpted stone for the grand Akshardham Mandir
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the Vedic ceremony to place the first stone for the Akshardham mandir’s dwarshakh.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the murti-pratishtha ceremony for the all-marble shikharbaddh BAPS Swaminarayan mandir, New Delhi, completed in a record nine months.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj visits and blesses the craftsmen at Pindvada, near Mt. Abu in Rajasthan.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj blesses and inspires the craftsmen at Sikandra.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the Vedic pujan of the keystone for the central dome of the Akshardham mandir in New Delhi. Pramukh Swami Maharaj makes a detailed review of the project progress and gives valuable guidance.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the Vedic pujan of the Akshardham mandir’s dwarshakh.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs Vedic pujan of amalsara stone and keystone for the central dome of the Akshardham mandir.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs Vedic pujan ceremony of the giant kalashes and flagstaff for the Akshardham mandir.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs Vedic pujan ceremony and installs the 11-ft high murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir. Swamishri performs abhishek of the kalashes which are then placed upon the mandir’s domes.
Vedic pujan of the pindikas (raised platforms) for the murtis of the Guru Parampara, Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Sita-Ram, Shri Lakshmi-Narayan and Shri Shiv-Parvati are performed in the main mandir.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs Vedic pujan ceremony to inaugurate Exhibition Halls 1 and 2.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurates the giant screen theatre and the Neelkanth Yatra large format film.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs Vedic ceremony to add the sanctified water of 151 pilgrim places to the Narayan Sarovar. Vedic pujan of the 108 gaumukhs performed. Also, Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs pujan and consecrates the murti of Neelkanth Varni in the Abhishek Mandapam.
Vijaya Dashami. Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the Vedic rituals of Prasad Pravesh for the Swaminarayan Akshardham complex. The Swaminarayan Akshardham festival in New Delhi is inaugurated.
Three-day yagna commenced as prelude to the Swaminarayan Akshardham murti-pratishtha ceremony.
In the morning, Pramukh Swami Maharaj performs the Vedic mahapuja ceremony of the murtis in the Akshardham Mandir. In the evening, Pramukh Swami Maharaj presides over public Dedication Ceremony together with President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani and Lt. Governor of Delhi B.L. Joshi./p>
Swaminarayan Akshardham is opened to the public.