Sankari is a very small village with a population of no more than a hundred people and a single street of homes. Lush farms and trees surround the village. The heart-throb of Sankari is the Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Mandir consecrated in 1971 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The founding people behind the building of the first mandir in Sankari were Ramanbhai Patel, Govindkaka, Jivankaka and Somakaka. After the small mandir was built, Somakaka and the citizens of Sankari and the neighbouring villages were looking for someone to consecrate the murtis of Laxminarayan Dev. Somakaka requested Yogiji Maharaj in UK, in 1970, to grace and consecrate the mandir. Yogiji Maharaj agreed and told him, “I will come to perform the murti-pratishtha of the mandir.” But on returning to India Yogiji Maharaj passed away in January 1971. To fulfill the wish of Yogiji Maharaj and the request of the villagers, Pramukh Swami Maharaj consecrated the murtis of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj and Laxminarayan Dev on 3 June 1971. It was Swamishri's first murti-pratishtha of a shikharbaddh mandir.
Over the decades the efforts of Swamishri and sadhus saw Satsang flourish in the region of Sankari. They travelled to the tribal villages and inspired thousands to give up addictions and superstitions. The Sankari mandir soon burgeoned into a centre for spiritual and moral regeneration. In 1988 a portion of the mandir land was transformed for over six months into an ideal cattle camp for the drought-stricken cattle. Every punam, more than 10,000 devotees come for darshan to the mandir. The entire region has 88 Bal Mandals, 61 Balika Mandals, 98 Mahila Mandals and over 155 BAPS Satsang Mandals. These centres have spread and consolidated the Hindu ideals and messages of moral living among the educated and tribal masses. Two BAPS Mobile Health Vans offer their services to the poor tribal people in this region. With the growing magnitude of Satsang, the need for a bigger mandir complex became necessary. To satisfy the increasing needs, Swamishri performed the ground-breaking ceremony for a new shikharbaddh mandir on 15 January 1996. Within 5 years the intricately carved mandir made of pink sandstone was ready. It stands like a resplendent jewel in the lush green surroundings of Sankari.
At 8.52 a.m., Swamishri inaugurated the main gate, Akshar Dwar, of the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Amidst Vedic chantings Swamishri offered prayers to Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and applied kumkum to the two main pillars of Akshar Dwar. After Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami split the coconut, Swamishri untied the nada-chhadi and declared the gate open.
Swamishri then entered the mandir and performed the pratishtha rituals of the murtis of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj. Pujya Mahant Swami performed the pratishtha rituals of Ghanshyam Maharaj, Pujya Dr. Swami performed the pratishtha rituals of Harikrishna Maharaj and Laxminarayan Dev and other senior sadhus performed the pratishtha rituals of the murtis of Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj, Shiv Panchayatan and Ram Panchayatan. Swamishri then performed the pujan of all the murtis. While the annakut was being placed before the deities Swamishri offered prayers for the alleviation of the drought in Gujarat and happiness of the earthquake victims, for a good monsoon and peace in the world. Thereafter, Swamishri performed the pratishtha arti and finally offered dandvats before the deities.