Himmatnagar is home to the government administrative headquarters of the Sabarkantha region of Gujarat state. The new shikharbaddh BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir is located near the highway on the outskirts of the city. Vedic rituals and other celebratory programmes were held to mark its opening.
9 December - Women’s Assembly
Many thousands of women devotees, young and old, from cities, towns and villages throughout the Sabarkantha district attended the special celebration assembly. Amid the devotion-filled atmosphere, BAPS women devotees presented inspiring skits, dances and speeches.
10 December - Prasad Pravesh
In the morning, Pujya Keshavjivan Swami (Pujya Mahant Swami), Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Pujya Kothari Swami) and Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami performed the Vedic "Prasad Pravesh" rituals in the presence of other sadhus and yajmans.
10 December - Pramukh Swami Maharaj's Birthday Celebration Assembly
As part of the mandir murti-pratishtha celebrations, a grand assembly was held to commemorate Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 93rd birth anniversary on completion of his 92 years. Over 15,000 devotees from throughout north Gujarat gathered to pay tribute to Swamishri on this occasion.
The assembly highlighted five aspects of Swamishri’s selfless life: life transformations he has inspired, his unconditional affection for all devotees, the peace he has established in society, the faith in God he has instilled and the belief in guaranteed liberation generated in devotees. Each of these topics was elaborated upon through speeches by Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami, Pujya Bhaktipriya Swami (Pujya Kothari Swami), Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, Anandswarup Swami, Brahmavihari Swami and Dharmavinay Swami. In addition, specially prepared short videos were shown on each aspect.
The story of the life transformation inspired by Swamishri of Valabhai of Paliyabiya village was narrated. Youths of the Kalol yuvak mandal enacted a drama depicting the transformation of Samera village in the Meghraj area of Sabarkantha. Children of Himmatnagar Bal Mandal performed two traditional dances.
The senior sadhus presented various decorative garlands to the murti of Swamishri to honour him on this occasion. Pujya Mahant Swami spoke on how to repay guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj for his selfless endeavours, “Living one’s life according to Swamishri’s wishes and becoming a sincere devotee is true repayment to Swamishri.”
11 December - Yagna For World Peace
The Yagna for World Peace began at the designated auspicious time of 8.07 a.m.
After the yagna flame was lit, Pujya Mahant Swami, Pujya Doctor Swami, Pujya Kothari Swami, Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and other sadhus performed the initial rituals.
This was followed by pujan and arti of the murtis to be consecrated in the new mandirs. Thereafter, Mahant Swami addressed the devotees seated in the yagna.
Over 3,770 couples were seated in groups around 491 yagna kunds, specially set up in the yagna arena. Devotees of all backgrounds, from professionals to adivasis participaged together in the yagna rituals. In addition to the participating devotees, thousands more came for darshan of the yagna.
The auspicious atmosphere of the Vedic yagna brought peace and joy to all.
11 December - Grand Nagar Yatra
At 5.00 p.m. the grand Nagar Yatra of the murtis to be consecrated in the new mandir began from Himmat High School.
The Mayor of Himmatnagar Shri Shankarbhai Kahar and other guests, together with Satsangijivan Swami (Kothari of BAPS Mandir, Ahmedabad), Shrihari Swami, Narendraprasad Swami and Dharmavinay Swami (Kothari of BAPS Mandir, Himmatnagar) performed pujan and arti of Thakorji.
The Nagar Yatra included Thakorji in a palkhi carried by youths, various decorative floats carrying the murtis to be consecrated: Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami and Gopalanand Swami on the Mayur Rath, Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj and Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj on the Shrihari Rath, Shri Harikrishna Maharaj on the Garud Rath, Shri Radha-Krishna Dev on the Jagannath Rath, Shri Shiv-Parvati-Ganapatiji on the Avatar Rath, Shri Sita-Rama-Hanumanji on a splendidly decorated rath, Shri Bhagatji Maharaj and Shastriji Maharaj on the Hansa Rath, and Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj on the Surya Rath.
The Nagar Yatra also included groups of youths and children dancing, carrying banners promoting messages of de-addiction; groups of adivasi (tribal) devotees carrying traditional instruments and displaying acrobatic skills; yuvatis and women carrying kalash-shrifal-jawara and pothis on their heads. All these devotees walked or danced along while singing kirtans during the whole procession. The entire nagar yatra stretched for 1.5 km from start to finish. Many local residents crowded the streets to view the colourful and spectacular procession.
After the Nagar Yatra, a felicitation assembly was held, in which all who had helped in the mandir project were honoured by Pujya Mahant Swami, Pujya Doctor Swami and Ghanshyamcharan Swami.
12 December - Murti-Pratishtha Ceremony
On 10 July 2013 (Ashadh sud 2, V.S. 2069) in Sarangpur, Pramukh Swami Maharaj had performed the murti-pratishtha rituals for the murtis to be instaled in Himmatnagar's BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.
On 12 December 2013 (Magshar sud 10, V.S. 2070) the murtis were ritually installed in the mandir. In the early morning, senior sadhus performed the abhishek rituals of the murtis. Pujya Mahant Swami and other senior sadhus performed the Vedic inauguration rituals of the main entrance to the mandir. They also performed pujan of the large marble replica of Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s footprints.
The Vedic murti-pratishtha rituals began with the mahapuja, after which the doors of the garbhagruh were opened and senior sadhus performed the Vedic consecration rituals of all the murtis: Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Gunatitanand Swami, Gopalanand Swami by Pujya Mahant Swami; Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj by Pujya Tyagvallabh Swami; Shri Harikrishna Maharaj, Shri Radha-Krishna Dev by Pujya Kothari Bhaktipriya Swami; Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj by Pujya Doctor Swami; Gunatit Gurus by Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami. Consecration rituals of the other deities was performed by Shrihari Swami, Satsangijivan Swami, Anandswarup Swami, Atmaswarup Swami and Bhaktavatsal Swami.
After the consecration rituals, Pujya Mahant Swami performed pujan of all the murtis in their respective shrines. An annakut of sweet and savoury delicacies was arranged in all the shrines, and a thal and Arti performed. Pujya Mahant Swami and the senior sadhus then performed abhishek of Shri Nilkanth Varni.
12 December - Murti-Pratishtha Assembly
The assembly began with dhun and singing of the kirtan “Ãj Himmatnagarmã nutan mandiriye suvarna kalash khubh shobhatã…”.
After speeches by sadhus, a video highlighting the efforts of Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the growth of satsang in this region was shown. Children and youths of Himmatnagar bal and yuvak mandals performed a dance depicting the glory and purpose of mandirs.
On behalf of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the senior sadhus welcomed and honoured all the guests.
To express their gratitude to Pramukh Swami Maharaj for gifting this superb mandir to Sabarkantha, the sadhus and karyakars presented garlands to the murti of Swamishri.
Pujya Mahant Swami addressed the gathering, “It is not easy to build a mandir. It is possible only due to the generous support of many people. This mandir is not only grand, but is also divine. Such divinity is due to the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This mandir is the fruit of many years of effort by the sadhus and devotees.
“Everyone has virtues and faults. We were all ordinary previously. But Pramukh Swami Maharaj has extracted the virtues latent in us all... Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s pure life and divine spiritual personality has inspired this work.
“The shastras say ‘A satpurush creates mandirs, tirths (places of pilgrimage) and shastras. But these three cannot combine to make a satpurush.’ We have the company of such a satpurush. This mandir is the result of Swamishri’s selfless efforts. Now we must endeavour to transform our heart into a mandir. This, too, is possible by the blessings of Swamishri.”
Tens of thousands of devotees from over 450 surrounding villages attended the celebrations, in addition to the many who had come from throughout India and abroad.