"A Mandir is a place of paramount peace…to realize God"

- H.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj


BAPS is a spiritual and humanitarian Hindu organization dedicated to serving humanity by caring for individuals, families and society. A dedicated force of thousands of volunteers offers over 12 million volunteer hours every year to serve the community through various health, education, disaster relief and environmental protection projects. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Bartlett , IL is one of the Mandirs.
Mandir is a word of Sanskrit origin and it means the dwelling place for the Deities.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Complex in Bartlett, IL has become the focus of interest and wonder for thousands of local citizens and people visiting Chicagoland. The fusion of traditional Indian architecture with modern technology has attracted people from all walks of life; from visiting school groups to architects, they are all marveled by the stunning architecture and breathtaking artistry of the Mandir.
This masterpiece of ancient design and workmanship, which was put up in only 16 months, is testimony to the sheer dedication and devotion of over 1,700 volunteers.
The story of the creation of the Mandir is epic in proportions and logistics. Over 1,700 volunteers from the Chicagoland area, and many more from over 3 continents, contributed their expertise for the construction of this edifice.    The construction and architecture of it is rooted in Vedas in a treatise known as the Shilpa-Shastras. The Mandir exemplifies a system of construction that has been proven to withstand the tests of time, thus providing a place that will continue to generate memories and experiences for the posterity.  Visitors to the Mandir can experience the various facets of Hindu rites and rituals, as well the core philosophical concepts  of the religion. The Mandir, exhibition of ’Understanding Hinduism’ and the Haveli provides visitors a concise, yet comprehensive study of the Hindu religion. It is an inspiring place to learn about the culture of India, the values and traditions associated with Hinduism.
The Mandir has several activities for the young and old. Activities are spiritual and Charity activities which encourage volunteerism. The annual walk-a-thon helps to foster a spirit of service and provides an outlet through which one may contribute to the local community. Blood donation drives help the Hospitals. Local doctors also provide voluntary services at the Annual Health Fair through free consultations in a myriad of medical fields.
Festivals are celebrated in the Mandir throughout the year. The festivals are reminiscent of some of the festivals in India. They include Diwali, Swaminarayan Jayanti, Ram Navami, Janmashtmi, Shivratri, Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi. Diwali and Annakut mark the end of one year and beginning of Hindu New Year. They are celebrated with offering of prayers and dazzling lights, sights, sounds and thematic exhibitions.

In 1972 there were only six devotees in Chicago. The Sunday Satsang assembly was inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Through his continuous guidance during his visits in 1974, 1977 and 1980, the Satsang in Chicago area saw dramatic growth. A small building on a four acre plot of land was acquired in the Glen Ellyn suburb of Chicago. The building was renovated to meet our needs. In 1984, Pramukh Swami Maharaj consecrated the first BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chicagoland.
With the growth of Satsang over many years, there was a need of larger facilities. The current land in Bartlett met our requirements.  In 1994, this land was acquired along Route 59. Pramukh Swami Maharaj sanctified the land for building of a Mandir.  He guided the building of the cultural complex, known as a ‘Haveli’. This Haveli includes a large assembly hall, facilities for children, youth and adult Satsang activities. The ground-breaking ceremony and placing of the foundational stone was done in 1998 by Pujya Viveksagar Swami. The Governor of Illinois at the time, Jim Edgar, proclaimed that day as ‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj Day in Illinois’ and honored Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
The construction of the Haveli began on November 17, 1999.  On October 29, 2000 Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurated the Haveli in Chicago with Vedic ceremonies. A ten day divine and memorable ‘Haveli Mahotsav’ was held, which included a ceremonious yagna.  Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed the pratishta rituals (consecration) of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj in the Haveli.
On July 7, 2002 the Mandir foundation was placed under the expert supervision and guidance of foundation technologists. Stones for the interior of the Mandir consisting of Italian Carrara marble and the exterior of the Mandir consisting of Turkish Limestone were carved in Rajasthan, in western India, by 3000 stone artisans over a period of over two years. On November 9, 2002 the first batch of 240 containers of sculpted stone sailed from Kandla (India) to Chicago. The Shikharbaddha Mandir in Chicago was completed in 16 months with the help of 2.5 million volunteer hours.  On the auspicious day of August 8, 2004, the Mandir was consecrated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and made open to the public.

Understanding Hinduism - A Unique Exhibition

Walk through the beginning of civilization; learn about the history and beauty of Hinduism.
'Understanding Hinduism' is a well-researched pictorial presentation of facts, figures and information. For the novice or the scholar, the exhibition is inspiring and enlightening.
The exhibition is divided into 5 parts:                                                             

  1. Introduction to Hinduism
  2. India's contributions to the world
  3. Introduction to the Swaminarayan Sampradaya.
  4. About BAPS
  5. Social, Charity activities of BAPS.

This exhibition describes the heritage of India and its significant contributions to the world. Did you know that India was the first to introduce the concept of the "Zero" to the world in 700 BCE? Or that the law of gravity was first discovered in 600 BCE, by Maharshi Kanad, an Indian Physicist? The first history book, the first university, the first Hospital were all founded in India, hundreds of years before other civilizations.
Encompassing the Natural features of India, "Understanding Hinduism" is a well researched presentation of facts, figures, and information that systematically deals with the origin, beliefs, glory, and contributions of Hindu seers and scholars in several areas such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, aviation, cosmology, physics, education, yoga, and religion. The sharing of this   knowledge encouraged a high level of social and scientific advancement in almost every field.
Coupled with highlights of the contributions made by the many scholars of India, the exhibition also portrays the life, accomplishments, and social reforms   set forth by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and His succession of Spiritual Heads. Being the epitome in the teaching of morality, righteousness, and compassion, Bhagwan Swaminarayan revealed the Swaminarayan Faith at the age of 21 to elevate society and re-establish spirituality.  Having studied it and realizing the greatness of the central philosophy of this faith, Shastriji Maharaj founded the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) in 1907. Today, BAPS has grown into a worldwide socio-spiritual movement, and it is active in various moral, social, educational, cultural, and spiritual projects to help better, individuals and society.

The Carrara marble was quarried in Italy and the Limestone was quarried in Turkey.
From there they were shipped to Kandla in western India.
They were then transported to Rajasthan, where they were hand-carved by more than 3000 craftsman over a period of 22 months.
The finished pieces were then shipped to a final location for polishing, packaging and numbering before being shipped back to the port in Kandla.
It took two months for a container ship to journey from India to the US.                 
Upon reaching the port in Virginia, the containers were put on a train to Chicago and then transported to the project site.
Upon arrival at the site, the stones were grouped and classified based on a detailed database of each piece.
The pieces were then assembled together like a massive, 3 dimensional jig-saw puzzle.
The finished products of rich carvings are a testimony to the exquisite skills of craftsmen, aided by superb logistics and engineering marvel.


  • Outside Turkish Limestone: 36, 131 cu. Ft
  • Inside Marble and Granite used for cladding walls: 31, 000 sq. ft
  • Cararra Marble: 29, 510 cu.ft
  • Bansipahadpur Pinkstone: 70, 240 cu. ft
  • Total: 8,430 tons of stone used
  • Size: Smallest stone 15 gm to largest stone of 5.2 tons


  • Shikhars (pinnacles): 5
  • 1 Central Dome: 22 ft. in diameter
  • 16 Domes
  • 4 Balconies
  • 14 Windows
  • 151 Pillars
  • 129 Arches


  • 75 ceilings with 39 different designs
  • 40,000 carved stone pieces
  • No iron or steel used in sync with traditional Indian architecture
  • Central Air conditioning
  • Heated floors
  • Fiber optic lighting system
  • Fusion of ancient architecture and modern technology

Man Hours

  • In excess of 1,700 volunteers worked on the project
  • In excess of 2,500,000 man hours to complete this project
  • Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahman Gunatitanand Swami
  • Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj
  • Shri Harikrishna Maharaj and Shri Radha-Krishna Dev
  • Brahmaswarup Bhagatji Maharaj
  • Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj
  • Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj
  • Brahmaswarup Pramukh Swami Maharaj
  • Shri Sita-Ram Dev and Shri Hanumanji
  • Shri Shiva-Parvati Dev and Shri Ganesji 

Mandir           Temple/place of worship     
Murti             Sacred image of the Deities and gurus   
Darshan          Seeing the Deities with reverence and adoration 
Arti               Ritual waving of lighted wicks before the Deities       
Thal              Ritual offering of food to the Deities


Mandir Murtis

Mandir Address

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