The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha possesses a rich history. The Swaminarayan Sampraday was established by Bhagwan Swaminarayan over 200 years ago in Gujarat and later formalized by His third spiritual successor Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj in the small town of Bochasan, Gujarat. After over 100 years of growth, the organization has 3,850 centers, 55,000 volunteers, and over 1 million followers around the world.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Timeline
April 3, 1781 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan is born as Ghanshyam in Chhapaiya.
September 28, 1784 – Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami is born as Mulji Sharma in Bhadra.
March 31, 1786 – Ghanshyam begins studying Sanskrit at the age of 5.
1792 – Ghanshyam leaves home to begin a 7 year pilgrimage across India and comes to be known as Neelkanth Varni.
October 24, 1794 – Neelkanth masters ashtanga yoga.
August 21, 1799 – Neelkanth arrives in Loj and meets Muktananad Swami.
June 18, 1800 – Neelkanth meets Ramanand Swami and Mulji Sharma for the first time in Piplana.
October 28, 1800 – Neelkanth is initiated as Sahajanand Swami in Piplana.
November 16, 1801 – Sahajanand Swami is appointed the leader of the Sampraday.
December 31, 1801 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan reveals the Swaminarayan mahamantra.
November 1803 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan visits Bhadra. Upon meeting Mulji Sharma again, Bhagwan Swaminarayan reveals him to be Aksharbrahma.
June 18, 1804 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan initiates 500 paramhansas in Kalvani.
January 20, 1810 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan initiates Mulji Sharma as Gunatitanand Swami.
November 21, 1819 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan begins delivering the discourses recorded in the Vachanamrut.
November 1820 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan reveals the 6 reasons He incarnated on this Earth to Gopalanand Swami.
February 25, 1823 – The divine Raas takes place in Panchala.
February 12, 1826 – The Shikshapatri is written in Vadtal.
March 20, 1829 – Bhagatji Maharaj is born as Pragji Bhakta in Mahuva.
July 25, 1829 – The discourses recorded in the Vachanamrut are completed.
February 26, 1830 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan meets with Sir John Malcolm, Lt. Governor of the British East India Company.
June 1, 1830 – Bhagwan Swaminarayan passes away to Akshardham. His mortal body is offered its last rites in Lakshmi Vadi, Gadhada.
June 2, 1830 – Gunatitanand Swami takes over the spiritual reigns of the Sampraday.
January 31, 1865 – Shastriji Maharaj is born as Dungar Bhakta in Mahelav.
October 11, 1867 – Gunatitanand passes away to Akshardham at the age of 82 in Gondal.
May 23, 1892 – Yogiji Maharaj is born as Jina Bhagat in Dhari.
November 7, 1897 – Bhagatji Maharaj passes away to Akshardham at the age of 67 in Mahuva.
November 13, 1905 – Shastriji Maharaj leaves Vadtal after instruction from Shri Krishnaji Ada to establish the Aksharbrahma-Parabrahma philosophy.
June 5, 1907 – Inauguration of the first BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Bochasan by Shastriji Maharaj, thereby formally establishing the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
August 12, 1910 – First meeting between Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj.
July 9, 1911 – Yogiji Maharaj joins Shastriji Maharaj from his guru’s mandal in Junagadh.
May 8, 1916 – Inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Sarangpur.
December 7, 1921 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj is born as Shantilal in Chansad.
March 13, 1930 – Shastriji Maharaj meets Mahatma Gandhi in Navagam.
January 18, 1932 – Groundbreaking ceremony for BAPS Swaminarayan Akshar Mandir in Gondal.
May 24, 1934 – Inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Gondal.
October 19, 1938 – First issue of Swaminarayan Prakash published, a BAPS Gujarati monthly periodical.
November 7, 1939 – Shantilal leaves his home in Chansad to join Shastriji Maharaj.
January 10, 1940 – Shantilal is initiated into the sadhu fold and named Sadhu Narayanswarupdas.
May 18, 1940 – Property at Ambli Vali Pol in Ahmedabad is purchased.
March 15, 1941 – Inauguration of the first BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Gadhada.
October 20, 1943 – Shastriji Maharaj inaugurates a memorial commemorating the birthplace of Gunatitanand Swami in Bhadra.
July 12, 1945 – Inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Atladra.
December 26, 1945 – BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Nairobi
June 24, 1947 – BAPS Trust is registered under India’s new legal code.
May 21, 1950 – Shastriji Maharaj appoints 28-year-old Sadhu Narayanswarupdas as President of BAPS in Ambli Vali Pol.
May 10, 1951 – Shastriji Maharaj passes away to Akshardham at the age of 86 in Sarangpur.
May 16, 1951 – Yogiji Maharaj inaugurates the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Gadhada.
1952 – First youth chapter established by Yogiji Maharaj in Ahmedabad.
1954 – First children’s chapter established by Yogiji Maharaj.
1955 – Yogiji Maharaj commences first Satsang Tour of Africa.
April 25, 1955 – Yogiji Maharaj inaugurates the first BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Africa in Mombasa, Kenya.
May 23, 1955 – The first Satsang Seminar is organized in Atladra.
December 23 - 25, 1956 – The first Children and Youth Convention is held in Africa.
1959 - 1960 – Yogiji Maharaj commences second Satsang Tour of Africa.
May 11, 1961 – Yogiji Maharaj initiates 51 youths as sadhus in Gadhada.
May 11, 1962 – Inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Ahmedabad.
June 12, 1966 – Opening of BAPS Gurukul/Boarding School in Gondal.
June 4, 1967 – Yogiji Maharaj’s Amrut Mahotsav (75th Birthday Celebration) celebrated in Gondal.
June 20, 1967 – Opening of Akshar Purushottam Chhatralaya/Hostel in Vidyanagar.
April 23, 1969 – Inauguration of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Bhadra.
May 1969 – Yogiji Maharaj commences third Satsang Tour of East Africa and England; Mandirs inaugurated in London and Nairobi.
January 23, 1971 – Yogiji Maharaj passes away to Akshardham at the age of 79 in Mumbai.
June 4, 1971 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurates the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Sankri.
July 9, 1972 – First Annual Satsang Examinations launched.
July 26, 1973 – First issue of Swaminarayan Premvati published, a BAPS monthly publication for women.
August 4, 1974 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurates the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in New York.
October 19, 1975 – Opening of the Yogi Smruti Mandir and Museum in Gondal.
May 1976 – International Children/Youth Conference hosted in Vidyanagar with over 4,000 participants.
March 29, 1978 – First issue of Swaminarayan Bliss published, a BAPS monthly publication in English.
December 14, 1979 – Opening of Swaminarayan Aksharpith Printing Press in Ahmedabad.
July 5 - 6, 1980 – BAPS organizes All Religion Conference in London.
March 7 - April 13, 1981 – 207 youths from London, Africa, and India are initiated as sadhus, and 9,000 people give up their addictions and pledge to live an addiction-free life at the Bhagwan Swaminarayan Bicentenary Celebrations in Ahmedabad.
April 19, 1981 – Opening of Yagnapurush Smruti Mandir in Sarangpur.
April 7, 1984 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Pope John Paul II meet at the Vatican to discuss Interfaith Dialogue.
October 22 - December 19, 1985 – Over 8 million people participate in the Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami Bicentenary Celebrations in Ahmedabad.
July 16 to August 18, 1985 – The Cultural Festival of India, the first celebration of Indian culture of such magnitude in Europe, is organized at the Alexander Palace Grounds in London.
June 25, 1986 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj is invited to and received at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by Indian President Giani Zail Singh.
1987 – During the famine and drought in Gujarat, BAPS organizes 4 cattle camps, serves 12 million liters of buttermilk, and distributes 285,000 kilograms of grains.
April 28, 1988 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj honored at the British Parliament.
June 13, 1988 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj honored at the Canadian Parliament.
1989 – Government of Gujarat honors BAPS with “Best Children’s Activity Award.”
July 12 to August 11, 1991 – The Cultural Festival of India in Edison, New Jersey is the first celebration of Indian culture of such magnitude in the Americas and attracts over 1.2 millions visitors.
September 1, 1992 – Inuguration of the the Swaminarayan Independent Day School in Neasden, London.
November 2, 1992 – Swaminarayan Akshardham, Gandhinagar is inaugurated at the Yogiji Maharaj Centenary Celebration in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
November 11, 1992 – Government of India presents BAPS with the “National Award for Child Welfare.”
1993 – Emergency aid is provided to 15 villages, and 600 homes in 7 villages are reconstructed in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Lathur, Maharashtra.
August 1, 1995 – BAPS granted NGO affiliation with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council.
August 20, 1995 – BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in London, the first traditional Hindu mandir in all of Europe, is inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
November 25 - December 31, 1995 – More than 8.1 million people participate in a 37-day festival to celebrate Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s 75th Birthday.
August 1996 – BAPS North America celebrates 25 years of humanitarian service, cultural preservation, and spiritual enlightenment at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
June 22, 1997 – The Swaminarayan School in Nagpur is inaugurated.
October 23, 1997 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj welcomes Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in London.
November 10, 1997 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj is received at Buckingham Palace by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
June 1998 – 5,000 families provided for and 20 schools rebuilt after a deadly cyclone hits southern Gujarat.
1998 – Reader’s Digest proclaims the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London as one of the “70 Wonders of the Modern World.”
March 2, 1999 – www.swaminarayan.org launched on the Worldwide Web.
December 1999 – 15,000 families provided for and 3 villages rebuilt after a cyclone strikes Orissa.
August 29, 1999 – The BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Nairobi is inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the first of its kind in the region.
July 8, 2000 – Guinness World Records recognizes Pramukh Swami Maharaj for creating the most mandirs and is endowed with the title “Master Architect.”
August 29, 2000 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj addresses the Millennium World Peace Summit at the United Nations, New York, USA.
October 4, 2000 – Pramukh Swami Maharaj and United States President Bill Clinton meet in Miami, FL, USA.
January 2001 – Emergency aid provided to 409 villages, 900,000 food packets distributed, and 1.8 million hot meals served after the earthquake in Gujarat. More than 4,000 homes and 49 schools rebuilt in 15 villages.
April 5, 2001 – Former United States President Bill Clinton is received by Pramukh Swami Maharaj at Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar.
February 6, 2003 – BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in New Delhi is inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj on the banks of the Yamuna River.
October 2003 – United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair visits BAPS annakut held in the House of Parliament, London.
February 8, 2004 – 50th Anniversary Celebration of BAPS Children’s Activities in Gandhinagar is attended by Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam.
July 25, 2004 – BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Houston is inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, becoming the first traditional Hindu mandir in North America.
August 8, 2004 – BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Chicago inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
December 2004 – BAPS volunteers provide emergency aid to 51,000 people and reconstructed 2 villages in the wake of the South Asian Tsunami.
January 31, 2005 – Mystic India, the first large format film about India, presented and produced by BAPS Charities, wins Audience Choice Prize at 10th International Large Format Film Festival.
November 6, 2005 –Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi is inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Indian President Abdul Kalam, and Lal Krishna Advani.
May 1 - 15, 2007 – 23,000 children from India participate in an intervention and de-addiction campaign to rid 700,000 people of addictions and substance abuse.
July 22, 2007 – BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto is inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper, who regards the mandir as “the greatest gift given by Indo-Canadians to Canada.”
August 26, 2007 – BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Atlanta is inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, becoming the largest traditional Hindu mandir outside of India.
December 13 to 17, 2007 – BAPS Centenary Celebrations take place in Ahmedabad with more than 1 million visitors over 4 days of celebrations.