January 25, 2004
Who can forget the summer of 2000? A unique event in the history of BAPS took place from August 9th-13th. Thousands of youths gained exhilaration from a national convention in the presence of H.D.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This event took place in the small town of Perry, GA. A handful of devotees made the national convention in 2000 a huge success that has gone down in BAPS history. It was around that time that 10 acres of land was acquired for a future Mandir that would provide a spiritual and cultural base for all the devotees and community of middle Georgia at large. Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed bhumipujan of this land during his stay in Perry in 2000.
On January 25, 2004, the dream of the devotees and community came true. On this auspicious day, the inauguration and murti-pratishtha of the 37th BAPS Mandir in North America was dedicated to all. It was an event for the devotees and well-wishers for the entire Southeast region. The entire murti-pratishtha event spanned the auspicious weekend of Vasant Panchami. On Saturday, January 24, 2004, a spectacular Kirtan Aradhana was held in the Mandir hall. Devotees listened to the melodious kirtans from P. Saints and youths. The very next day, the Vedic Mahapuja for the Pratishtha started at 9 a.m. in the presence of P. Yagnavallabh Swami, P. Bhaktiswaroop Swami, P. Kaivalyamurti Swami, P. Uttamcharan Swami, P. Amrutnandan Swami, and P. Shantmurti Swami. The Pratishtha took place after the Mahapuja and a beautiful annakut of 84 items prepared by the ladies wing of Perry was offered to the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami, Shri Radhakrishna Dev, Guru parampara, Shri Ganpatiji, and Shri Hanumanji. An assembly was held after the Pratishtha with P. Saints, trustees of BAPS Inc., and the Southeast board of directors who all shared the history of Perry Satsang with all. Video presentations were shown of Pramukh Swami Maharaj performing bhumipujan of the land on August 12, 2000 and the Pratishtha vidhi of the murtis in Amdavad on July 7, 2003. The highlight of the event was when Pramukh Swami Maharaj gave live blessings from Atladara via phone. The murti-pratishtha was a truly remarkable event that will be remembered by devotees and well-wishers.