Over 200 years ago,
Bhagwan Swaminarayan, who at the time was 14-years-old and
known as Nilkanth Varni ,stayed for six months in Jagannathpuri
during his 7-year pilgrimage of India. Here, the then Maharaja
realized Nilkanth Varni's divinity and honored Him by seating
Him on the chariot with Lord Jagannathji during the annual
Rath Yatra festival.
Known as 'Puri' for short, it is one of the holiest pilgrim
places of Hindus, visited by millions annually.
After the super cyclone in 1999 in Orissa, following which
the BAPS contributed tremendously to the emergency and rehabilitation
relief work, Pramukh Swami Maharaj inaugurated a small mandir,
installing the murtis of Shri Akshar Purushottam Maharaj.
Since then, Satsang has gradually continued to grow and a
6,000 sq. ft. plot of land was acquired on Chakratirth a Road,
near the Indradyumna Sea.
There, on Vijya Dashmi, 22 October 2004, the traditional Vedic
shilanyas ceremony for a new BAPS mandir was performed by
Ghanshyamcharan Swami and Bhagvatpriya Swami in the presence
of the Maharaja of Jagannathpuri, Shri Shri Gajapati Maharaja.
Also present on this auspicious occasion were Shri Maheshwar
Mohanti, Speaker of the Rajya Sabha of Orissa; Shri Damodar
Raout, Minister of Panchayats; and Shri Surendranath Nayak,
Minister for Agriculture.
The main participants in the shilanyas ceremony were Shri
Bhavesh Sheth, editor of 'Halchal' weekly, and Sanjay Shah.
In the assembly after the traditional assembly, there were
speeches by the BAPS sadhus in English, Udiya and Hindi and
by the invited guests.
Shri Maheshwar Mohanti remarked, "Through His values
and compassion, Bhagwan Swaminarayan has effected great transformations
T his auspicious occasion was attended by many devotees and
well wishers from neighboring villages and a large contigent
of devotees from Kolkata.