On 20 March 1960, from the banks of the Limpopo River, which divides South Africa and Zimbabwe (previously, Rhodesia), Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj blessed the devotees of South Africa that Satsang will flourish in South Africa.
Through these blessings and the tireless efforts of Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Pragat Brahmaswarup Mahant Swami Maharaj the Satsang has indeed flourished in South Africa.
Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed the murti-pratishtha of the first BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Johannesburg in 1991. Since then, Satsang has continued to develop, with BAPS mandirs now also in Lenasia, Durban, Pretoria, Cape Town, Tzaneen and Benoni.
However, it was Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision to make a grand mandir and a haveli (a cultural complex) in South Africa. After much effort, suitable land was acquired and detailed plans were prepared with the help of architects from India and South Africa.
The first steps in fulfilling the blessings of Pujya Yogiji Maharaj and the vision of Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj were taken in the divine presence of Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj on Saturday 25 March 2017 (Falgun vad 12, Vikram Samvat 2073) when over 3,000 devotees and well-wishers participated in the the grand Shilanyas Mahotsav (foundation stone-laying ceremony).
The ceremony began with a Vedic mahapuja in which all participants performed the mahapuja along with guruhari Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj. Towards the end of the Vedic mahapuja, Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj sat near the shila pit and placed a beautiful kalash and five gold-painted bricks into the pit to inaugurate the grand project. Thereafter, Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj went around the whole land to bless it.
In the assembly, Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami highlighted the need for the mandir and haveli and the benefits it will bring to the society at large. Distinguished guests and dignitaries were present from around the country. They welcomed Param Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj and received his blessings.
In his blessings to the assembly, Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj talked about the ultimate glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the guru parampara. He also emphasized the need to focus on doing bhajan, explaining that the main reason for building a mandir and haveli here is so that everyone can all focus on doing bhajan. He also highlighted the need for unity to accomplish such a grand project.
After Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj’s blessings, everyone present got an opportunity to place a brick in the foundation pit before departing. More than 5,000 bricks were placed in the foundation.