The city of Rajkot has a special link with the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, for it was in Rajkot, at the Kothi Compound, that Lord Swaminarayan met the then British Governor of Bombay, Sir John Malcolm on 26 February 1830.
Many years later, Rajkot served as the base where Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj stayed while studying Sanskrit under the tutelage of Jivanlal Shastri. And Rajkot was where the first historic meeting between Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj took place.
Besides these milestones, numerous important and special landmarks and locations connect Rajkot with the Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
The roots of the Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha in Rajkot were planted when a small mandir dedicated to Akshar and Purushottam was built. With the spirited and selfless assistance of Yogiji Maharaj, Krishnaji Ada and other sadhus and devotees, Shastriji Maharaj taught Lord Swaminarayan's pure philosophy of Akshar and Purushottam to many.
By the tireless efforts of Shastriji Maharaj, the messages of Satsang were wholeheartedly imbibed by many. And after Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj continued the work.
The initial period was physically demanding. During his frequent visits to Rajkot, every morning, Yogiji Maharaj would walk the streets of Rajkot to beg for alms and convey the message of Satsang.
In 1960, Yogiji Maharaj established a regular yuvak sabha in Rajkot. And in 1967, after much effort, Yogiji Maharaj installed the murtis of Akshar Purushottam in a renovated house in the Rajputpara area of Rajkot. On that occasion, Yogiji Maharaj declared to the devotees who had gathered that a majestic mandir will be built in Rajkot and consecrated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
As the number of devotees swelled and the range of Satsang activities increased, this hari mandir proved to be too small.
Thus in 1989, the project to build a shikharbaddh mandir was launched in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. With this declaration began the search for a suitable location.
Soon, a plot was purchased on Kalavad Road and in April 1990, Swamishri performed the ground-breaking (khatmuhurat) ceremony for the new shikharbaddh mandir.
At around the same time, to cater for the continued growth of Satsang, the hari mandir was moved to a new location opposite the new shikharbaddh mandir site.
By 1991 the mandir had been raised upto the plinth level. Then in 1992, work slowed as the focus centred on the Birth Centenary Celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj.
In 1993, pink stones began arriving from Rajasthan to the worskshop that had been set up on the construction site. The pace of work gradually increased and in October 1993, Swamishri came to Rajkot to ceremoniously place the first pillar.
Then, by the tremendous dedication and sacrifice of the devotees and saints, and the inspiration of Swamishri, the mandir began to take shape. Slowly but surely, the Sanstha's biggest mandir neared completion.
The date of the murti pratishtha was set for 26 November 1998, the day before Swamishri's 78th birthday. A week-long celebration was scheduled from 20–27 November 1998 to commemorate these auspicious occasions.