Historical connections between the Swaminarayan Sampraday and Gandhinagar from the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan to the inauguration of Swaminarayan Akshardham.
Under this Bunyan tree, Pujya Yogiji Maharaj, a great spiritual visionary prayed : “Here, a majestic temple will rise and inspire great spiritual values.” He, thereafter sprinkled rose petals exactly where the monument stands now.
Of many designs, this modern design was selected. Land was acquired. It was to be built in cement and concrete. Then, Swamiji questioned : “But how long will cement & concrete will last ? Perhaps 100 years. We want the monument to last for thousands of years. Make the monument out of stone in traditional architecture!”
The Foundation-laying ceremony was performed by Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Saints and hundreds of youth volunteers dug the foundations and carried stones. Later cranes were used to hoist and set huge stones.
Near the end of the year, the outer stone edifice was ready. The interior was still to be planned. As the year marked the Bicentenary of Akshar Brahma Gunatitanand Swami, the monument was blessed by a holy ceremony. However the project was temporarily frozen for further development.
A team of 6 saints visited countries in Europe, America and Far-East. They researched through hundreds of exhibitions, studying display systems ranging from sculpture to holography and meeting curators and directors of world famous museums and exhibitions. The four-month research tour added new concepts and new dimensions.
This year saw many meetings. Thinking and Rethinking. Surrounding buildings, exhibition halls, research centre and colonnade were conceived. Of many plans, formal and informal, the formal pattern was selected to reflect the disciplined design of the monument.
A massive parallel workforce of saints, consultants, artists and volunteers was mobilised. Day and night; Themes were crystallised…Scripts were revised…Exhibition plans were finalised…Cladding and furnishing continued…Sculpting…painting…Casting… Engraving…Polishing…Gardening………..Accurate lighting…Electronic equipment and Computer systems were installed. ALL IN THE SPAN OF ONE YEAR !
On this holy day of ‘Laabh Panchami’, Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurated the Akshardham Complex. At the grand public ceremony on the 2nd of November, thousands of people gathered to marvel at this miracle of love, service and sacrifice that honoured Lord Swaminarayan and hailed Indian Culture. Swamiji blessed with these words: “Akshardham has been created out of pure love. Not for publicity or show. But for devotion to God. Anyone who comes here will find deep inner peace.