The Akshar Deri is one of the most revered places of pilgrimage in the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, where Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami (1784-1867) was cremated, and where the noble wishes of countless devotees have been fulfilled.
Various events and celebrations began in February 2016 to commemorate its 150th anniversary. The highlight of this two-year celebration was the ‘Akshar Deri Sardh Shatabdi Mahotsav’, which was celebrated on Monday 22 January 2018 in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj in Gondal, India.
A special programme to mark this occasion was also held in the presence of swamis on Saturday 20 January 2018 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Wellingborough. The Mandir is the home of the Akshar Deri in Europe, inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 1980.
Swamis began the evening programme by singing kirtans describing the spiritual significance of the Akshar Deri. A montage of dramas involving children, youths and senior devotees further explained the greatness of the Akshar Deri.
Devotees shared their personal experiences, thoughts and memories in relation to the Akshar Deri (both in Gondal and Wellingborough). An inspiring video message about the Akshar Deri from Mahant Swami Maharaj was also shared with the congregation. Swamis elaborated upon this message and delved into the rich history of the Akshar Deri.
A Vedic ceremony to place the sacred ashes of Pramukh Swami Maharaj (1921-2016) inside the Akshar Deri was conducted thereafter. Swamis presided over the rituals after which devotees paid their respects at the shrine.