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

- H.H. Pramukh Swami Maharaj


The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir complex in Toronto has become the focus of interest and wonder for local citizens and visitors to Toronto. The complex consists of the first traditional hand carved Hindu Mandir (Hindu place of worship), Haveli and the Heritage Museum.

The fusion of traditional Indian architecture with modern technology has attracted people from all walks of life; including students on field trips, accomplished architects and engineers and visitors from all over the world who come to enjoy the experience. All visitors have been awestruck by the unique architecture and the detailed intricacy of the carvings.

The Mandir is a masterpiece of intricate design and workmanship of ancient Indian arts, traditions and philosophy. The Mandir was constructed in a record 18 months. It is a testimony to the sheer dedication and devotion of over 400 volunteers.

Visitors come to the Mandir to experience Hinduism and the peace and tranquility the sacred Mandir and murtis provide. Together with the Mandir, the Heritage Museum showcases the history and culture of the Indo-Canadian diaspora. With a central theme of "Unity in Diversity" the museum's aim is to educate the public through a myriad of creative and visually stunning exhibits.

Festivals are celebrated on a grand scale at the Mandir, which include Diwali & Annakut, Swaminarayan Jayanti, Ram Navmi, Janmashtmi, Shivratri, Holi and Ganesh Chaturti. Diwali and Annkut celebrations which take place toward the end of October or into early November are among the most grand festivals of the year. We encourage everyone to join us during this auspicious time of year.

The Mandir also facilitates numerous activities for young and old. The annual walk-a-thon helps to foster and ignite a spirit of service into the community. In fall, doctors also provide voluntary services at the Annual Health Fair providing free consultations in a myriad of medical fields.

On July 22, 2007 the Mandir was dedicated to the people of Canada by the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and the inspirer, His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Present at the dedication ceremony were: The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, His Excellency Rajamanjinarayan, High Commissioner of India to Canada and His Worship Mayor David Miller, Mayor of Toronto.

  • 1973: With Yogiji Maharaj’s blessings Bhagwanjibhai Mandaviya and Ghanshyambhai M. Patel had separately arrived in Canada for studies. Inspired by letters from Pramukh Swami Maharaj, they began regular Sunday satsang assemblies. Purushottambhai Chotalia, Upendrabhai Oza, Narsinhbhai Patel, Nareshbhai Roy (Patel) and others also began to attend regularly.
  • 27 July 1974: Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s first visit to Canada. Small assembly in United Methodist Church, near Niagra Falls. Three-day stay; 27 padhramanis.
  • 1975: Devotees celebrate Diwali and Annakut in a church. Committee appointed to coordinate activities. Sunday assembly regularly attended by 15 families.
  • 1977: Swamishri’s second visit to Canada. Grand procession in downtown Toronto. Swamishri meets Bop Kaplan, Solicitor-General of Canada. Sanstha officially registered: Bhagwanjibhai Mandaviya appointed as president and G.M. Patel as secretary.
  • 1980: Swamishri’s third visit to Canada to promote awareness of Bhagwan Swaminarayan Bicentenary Celebrations. Mayor of Toronto honours Swamishri. Visits to Kitchener and Montreal.
  • 1984: Swamishri’s fourth visit to Canada. Decision to establish a mandir. 1988: Swamishri’s fifth visit to Canada. Canadian Parliament honours Pramukh Swami Maharaj for his contributions to society.
  • 1990: Swamishri’s sixth visit to Canada. Murti-Pratishtha of hari mandir in Toronto.
  • 1991: Swamishri’s seventh visit to Canada. Swamishri consecrates marble murtis of Shri Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj in Toronto. Grand nagar yatra in downtown Toronto.
  • 1994: Swamishri’s eighth visit to Canada.
  • 1996: Swamishri’s ninth visit to Canada. Purchase of 18-acre land off Highway 427 in Etobicoke for shikharbaddh mandir.
  • 2000: Swamishri’s tenth visit to Canada. Swamishri performs shilanyas ceremony for new BAPS shikharbaddh mandir in Toronto. Swamishri is first Asian to receive Key to the City of Toronto.
  • 2004: Swamishri’s eleventh visit to Canada. Inauguration of traditional Haveli.
  • 2007: Swamishri’s twelfth visit to Canada. Mandir Murti-Pratishtha Mahotsav in presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj; Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper; Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty; Lord Mayor of Toronto, David Miller; and High Commissioner of India to Canada, Rajmani Lakshmi Narayan..
The BAPS in Canada comprise only around 500 families. Despite this, the enthusiasm, dedication and devotion of all men and women, young and old, enabled the completion of this mammoth project on time.Apart from Toronto, devotees from other places, near and far, served tirelessly in many capacities. The extremes of cold (upto -35 degrees F) and heat did not dampen their enthusiasm. Between 2005 and 2007, the volunteers physically served for a total of over 17,115 hours helping in the mandir construction. A rota was arranged for devotees from the various areas to come for seva: On Mondays – North York, Tuesdays – Mississaga, Wednesdays – Brampton, Thursdays – Etobicoke, Saturdays – Scarborough and Sundays – Markham; Fridays were reserved for the weekly satsang assemblies in all the areas. In addition, devotees came to help even when it was not their turn. Thus, through mind, body and wealth, all contributed to their utmost capacity, and beyond.Volunteers spent much time and effort offloading and unpackaging the containers of sculpted stones. Many volunteers frequently worked for several days at a time without sleep. They would go from work to the mandir and, after serving all night, would go straight to work. Such was the commitment that ensured the success of this project.In addition to this regular physical service, the devotees also performed many austerities, praying for the successful, trouble-free completion of the project. Every day a devotee observed a nirjala fast. In this way a continuous sequence of fasts was observed by the devotees. In addition to this, many devotees, young and old, male and female, undertook personal austerities, such as, dharna-parna, ek tana, 86-hour fasts, forgoing favourite food items, etc.Many couples, even those who had just recently arrived in Canada and were still finding their feet, donated all their savings for the mandir.Teenagers and youths did part-time and odd jobs to contribute. Children, teenagers and youths helped in keeping the mandir campus clean and safe at all times.Also, the women devotees gathered on the first Sunday of every month to observe a Malathon, in which they turned the mala to pray for the project.In particular, the balaks and balikas had resolved to sponsor the murti of Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj. So, they abstained from eating chocolates, celebrating their birthdays and other enjoyments to save money and contribute. They also participated in the Walkathon and sold newspapers to raise funds.Even the craftsmen who had come from India for the mandir construction appreciated the significance of the mandir in transforming people’s lives for the better and gave up their addictions.With such a spirit of service everyone contributed to ensure the timely completion of the mandir.Then, during the Mandir Mahotsav from 20- 22 July, these same volunteers served in 43 departments: accommodation, accounting, audio-visual, bookstall, catering, cultural programmes, decoration, electrical, exhibition, housekeeping, landscape, maintenance, medical, security, transport, and others.Thus, despite such limited manpower and resources, the devotees of Canada worked together to complete this project.

Interesting Facts
The Understanding Hindu Dharma Exhibition is Canada’s premier Exhibition dedicated to showcasing and promoting the understanding of the history, civilization, diversity and cultural heritage of Canadians whose ancestry originates from India.
The Heritage Exhibition is incorporated into the Swaminarayan Mandir Complex.
The Complex’s traditional wood and stone architectural beauty is unparalleled. It is a wonderful addition to the Greater Toronto Area’s architectural wealth and further enhances Canada’s diverse mosaic of cultures, arts and architect. The Complex bestows to Canadians a treasure of astounding ancient Indian (Vedic) art and architecture. The traditional courtyard styled Haveli building, with its hundreds of hand-carved wooden peacocks, lotus flowers and royal elephants welcomes visitors into a magnificent auditorium designed free of pillars. The Mandir building, with its intricately hand-carved marble and lime stone creates a heavenly structure of pillars, pinnacles and domes add to the magnificent beauty of the Complex. Both structures add to Greater Toronto Area’s skyline and have become a major tourist attraction for people of all cultures. It is the largest initiative of its kind ever undertaken by the Indo-Canadian community in Canada - a historic and proud achievement for all Canadians.

About the Exhibition
The Exhibition is uniquely designed to inspire visitors to appreciate how the rich heritage of Indo-Canadians has contributed to the fields of art, architecture, science, democracy, education, culture, pluralism and spiritual values. It elaborates on and creatively displays, both to educate and experience, over 10,000 year old living civilization, from its origins to its role in the contemporary society. The Exhibition presents such a vast array of the civilization’s creative and intellectual output.

The traditional Vedic architectural form of the Exhibition allows visitors to experience the Indo-Canadian culture and heritage in a first-hand visceral way. Visitors will literally walk through an authentically styled ancient building whose construction is based on centuries-old practices and techniques.
2,638 tons of Turkish limestone, 2,260 tons of Carrara Italian marble and 1,487 tons of Indian sandstone have been used, without any steel, to build the complex in which the Exhibition is located. The building itself has become part of the story of Indo-Canadian heritage. There is no other building like it in Canada.

This sacred part of the Mandir welcomes all visitors to participate in the ‘Abhishek’ ritual. By participating in the ‘Abhishek’ ritual with devotion and faith, ones personal prayers and inner wishes are fulfilled whether they be for oneself or for loved ones; good health, happiness, prosperity, peace, spiritual blessing or success in life and will experience peace.

  • 4 savarans (stone crown)
    5 shikhars (pinnacles)
    1 ghummat (large dome)
    2 taper ceilings (saucer-shaped dome)
    11 ghummatis (small domes)
    84 chhats (decorative ceilings)
    132 torans (archways)
    112 intricately carved pillars
    340 total pillars
  • Heaviest stone weighs 5.6 tonnes; lightest stone weighs 50 grams
    335 pieces in main central shikhar
    434 pieces in Welcome Ceiling in the front roop choki
  • 2,638 tonnes of Turkish limestone used
    2,260 tonnes of Carrara marble used
    1,484 tonnes of Indian pink sandstone
  • 305 containers shipped with carved stone from India to Toronto
    Over 24,000 pieces of hand carved stones. More than 95,000 cubic feet of stone used
  • Height: 72 feet
    Length: 151 feet
    Width: 108 feet
  • At peak, over 1800 craftsmen were involved in the mandir work at 26 different sites in Rajasthan, India
    400 BAPS volunteers from Toronto gave their services for the mandir project on-site
  • Time available for the stone work in Toronto:
    2005 – 6 months
    2006 – 8 months
    2007 – 4 months
    Total – 18 months
Mandir A 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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