The historic inauguration of the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Jackson, MS, took place on October 24, 2021. The three-day celebration commemorating the Mandir opening attracted devotees and well-wishers from all parts of the local and regional community.
Satsang in the Jackson, MS area began through the inspiration of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 1998. As a result, a mandir was constructed and inaugurated in 1998. Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited the mandir on August 7, 2000.
Over the years, the congregation grew, and the need for a larger facility became evident. Over the past several years, the devotees wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to turning the dream of a larger mandir into a reality. Their hard work and sacrifice culminated in the inauguration of the new mandir.
The inaugural festivities began on October 21, with the arrival of the murti of Shri Nilkanth Varni and Pujya Swamis from Houston, TX. On the evening of October 22, a Kirtan Aradhana was organized. Then, hundreds of devotees joined in a grand procession of Akshar Purushottam Maharaj and Shri Nilkanth Varni in the local area on the afternoon of October 23. A cultural program was organized that evening by children, youths, and adults. It was an opportunity to reflect on the timeless traditions and values that the mandir instills in all.
Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor of the City of Jackson, who attended the cultural program, said, "To have a beautiful home of worship like this, it allows people to feel welcome, it allows people to know this is home."
The Murti Pratishtha took place on Sunday, October 24, 2021. Devotees and members of the local Hindu community partook in the Vedic mahapuja. Thereafter, the head swami of BAPS North America, Pujya Yagnavallabhdas Swami, conducted the Pratishtha rituals, infusing divinity in the murtis, amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras and prayers. The murtis of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and Aksharbrahma Shri Gunatitanand Swami, Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj, Shri Nilkanth Varni Maharaj, Shri Guru Parampara, Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Sita-Ram-Hanumanji, and Shri Shiv-Parvati-Ganeshji were consecrated. HH Mahant Swami Maharaj originally consecrated these murtis in Mahelav, Gujarat, India, on February 2, 2019.
The completion of the mandir marks a new chapter for the devotees of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Jackson, MS, and one they eagerly awaited. The mandir will become a focal point for cultural, spiritual, and charitable enrichment for generations to come. It will be a place where all members of the community can gather for spirituality and community service.