Introduction and History
The city of Bharuch lies on the banks of the holy river Narmada. The river Narmada has been praised in the Skand Puran as having 100 million pilgrim places on its banks. It has been noted that by merely having darshan of river Narmada one becomes cleansed of all sins.
Adi Shankaracharya, the founder of the Advait school of philosophy, resided and studied on the banks of the Narmada. He wrote the famous Narmada Ashtak - Namami Devi Narmade - shlokas praising the glory of Narmada as a goddess.
On the banks of this holy river lies the city of Bharuch. It is approximately 5,000 years old and was once the venue of Bhrugu Rushi's ashram. Subsequently, it came to be known as Bhrugupur or Bhrugu Kutch.
The Dashashwamegh Ghat was the place where King Bali had performed Ashwamegh Yagnas. God came in the form of Vaman, and in three steps took his entire kingdom. God was pleased at King Bali's sacrifice and devotion and blessed him. Thus Bharuch was a land of yagnas and sacrifices.
Bharuch was also the nucleus for trade and commerce with Iran, Syria, Mesopotamia and Babylon.
Introduction and Development of Satsang
In 1789 (Samvat 1855), Bharuch was blessed by the arrival of Nilkanth Varni. He stayed for two days on the banks and bathed in the river Narmada. This was the first occasion of Bhagwan Swaminarayan's association with Bharuch and river Narmada.
From 1904 Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj had on several occasions visited the town of Zadeshwar where he delivered discourses and held parayans. When the young Pramukh Swami developed red rashes due to working with lime in Atladra, he came to Shastriji Maharaj in Zadeshwar. The red rashes disappeared through the blessings of Shastriji Maharaj and Swamishri's physical agony subsided.
After Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj gave impetus to the Satsang in Bharuch. From 12 to 16 February 1968, a parayan was arranged in the presence of Yogiji Maharaj. The morning discourse on Harilila Kalpataru was read by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and the evening discourse on Vachanamrut and Swamini Vato were delivered by sadhus. Yogiji Maharaj gave his blessings during both sessions. Jagdishbhai Amin (a relative of Zaverbhai, Diwan of Vansda and Limbdi) and his nephew Ganeshbhai sponsored the parayan and hosted Yogji Maharaj in their large bungalow. On the concluding day of the parayan, a procession in a decorated car was carried out on the streets of Bharuch. During the parayan Yogiji Maharaj resolved to establish a mandir and have a grand parayan in Bharuch.
Mandir in Bharuch
In August 1969, Yogiji Maharaj performed the ground-breaking ceremony for a new mandir in Patel Society, Bharuch.
In 1975, Magshar sud 10, Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed the murti pratishtha of a Hari mandir in Bharuch.
In 1989, the 69th birthday celebration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj was held in Bharuch.
With the growth of Satsang through the years, the need for a shikharbaddh mandir arose. Shri Motibhai M. Patel donated his land on the main Bharuch-Mumbai highway to the BAPS. After the acquirement of more land, the mandir project commenced on the 18 acre site.
On 13 January 1998, Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed the stone-laying ceremony for the shikharbaddh mandir. In nearly four years a beautiful mandir in pink sandstone was completed through the inspiration of Swamishri. The five shikhar mandir is 75 ft high, 151 ft wide and 193 ft long. The mandir is ornamented with beautifully sculpted pillars, archways, balconies and murtis.
Opening Ceremony of Swaminarayan Mandir, Bharuch
On Saturday 8 December 2001, a yagna for World Peace
was held as part of the murti pratishtha rituals.
Amidst vedic chantings by Brahmins 2,500 couples performed the yagna rituals around 250 yagna pits.
On the afternoon of 8 December 2001, a grand, colorful procession weaved through the streets of Bharuch. The procession included four floats, namely, Hansa rath, Mayur rath, Garud rath and Narmada rath with the deities of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj, Ghanshyam Maharaj, Harikrishna Maharaj, Radha Krishna Dev, Sita Ram and Hanumanji, Shiv Parvati and Ganeshji, Guru Parampara and a murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni. The festive procession also had a decorated elephant with the murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Gunatitanand Swami, and various skilful performances like tribal dance, kathak dance, tur dance, kansadi dance, tarapan dance, manjira dance. There were also 20 bhajan groups who filled the air with devotional singing, school boys, torchbearing youths and a cavalcade of motorcycles.
The disciplined file of sadhus, devotees and women dressed in red saris with auspicious pots on their head, rent the procession with the chanting of the Swaminarayan dhun.
In the evening, a satsang assembly was held.
The day dawned with the abhishek rituals of the murtis in the mandir sanctum. Later in the morning, Swamishri performed the murti pratishtha of the murtis of Shri Akshar Purushottam Maharaj, Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shri Harikrishna Maharaj, Shri Radha Krishna Dev, Shri Sita Ram and Hanumanji, Shri Shiv Parvatiji and Ganeshji and Guru Paramapara. The chanting of vedic mantras divinized the atmosphere with devotion and joy. Swamishri also consecrated the murti of Nilkanth Varni for the daily abhishek rituals in the Rang Mandap.
During the murti pratishtha assembly, dignitaries praised the services of Swamishri and the BAPS. Finally, Swamishri blessed the assembly.
More than 54,000 devotees and wellwishers attended the murti pratishtha rituals and assembly.