Swaminarayan Temple, Mumbai
Swaminarayan Temple is a popular Hindu temple and is a part of the Swami Narayan Sampraday. Swaminarayan Temple located in the Bhuleshwar area of the Mumbai city of Maharashtra state of India and is dedicated to the Lord Swaminarayan who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and extremely popular among the Vaishnava-ites. The temple is the oldest temple dedicated to Lord Swami Narayan and is known to be about 100 years old.
Jeevanpran Swamibapa had a wish that there should be a grand centre for the divine Karan Satsang which should become a centre of spirituality and charity and everyone should benefit from this Satsang in the important city of Mumbai. Therefore, the temple was built by his divine holiness Acharya Swamishree to fulfill the wishes of Jeevanpran Swamibapa. The temple has been established in the prestigious region of Mahalaxmi in Mumbai and is visited by many devotees.
The temple was built in 1868 on the day of Vaishakh Shukla Ekadashi by Ranchhoddas Pranjeevandas who was the builder of the first ever Shree Swami Narayan temple in the city of Mumbai. He had built the temple by breaking and rebuilding his personal residence. Acharya Maharajshri Bhagwatprasadji Maharaj instated the deities of Hari Krishna Maharaj, Gaulokvihari, and Radhika.
Structure of the Swaminarayan Temple
The Swami Narayan Temple has a tri-spire structure and has the idols of Lord Laxmi Narayan Dev, Hari Krishna Maharaj, Ghanshyam Maharaj, Gaulokvihari, and Radha. The Shikharband temple comes under the Gadi of Laxmi Narayan Dev (Vadtal). The popular temple along with many others has given rise to the flower market in the Bhuleshwar area as there was a high demand of flowers for offerings to the deity in these temples.
Tri-spire temple: In 1903, the deities of Ghanshyam Maharaj and Lakshmi Narayan Dev were instated in the present tri-spire temple structure on the occasion of Vaishakh Shukla Dwadashi by Acharya Maharajshri Lakshmiprasadji. A devotee of Swami Narayan, Rao Bahadur Sheth Curumsey Damjee had generously contributed towards the reinstatement of this temple with all material, physical and intellectual resources. His associates and friends also donated to this work and his close associate and one of his friends, Shree Mathurdas Vaishnav too had donated Rs. 25,000/- towards this work.
The pious Swaminarayan Temple had been built at Bhuleshwar with an elaborately carved frontage. The grand temple and the frontage are a real visual treat in the otherwise shabby surroundings of the region. Swaminarayan Temple has many different spaces and about twenty-five steps lead the devotees to the audience hall (Sabhamandap). Swaminarayan Temple has many shrines including a shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha and one for Lord Hanuman on the left and right of the audience hall. In all, the temple has three main shrines. The shrine that is on the east has the idols of Hari Krishna Maharaj, Gaulokvihari, and Radhika. In the center, there are shrines of the popular Gods Ghanashyam Maharaj, Narayan, and Laxmi, who is the consort of Lord Narayan. The shrines located on the west houses resting place for the deities. The Sabhamandap has a dome which is a visual treat as it has upon it the painted scenes from the Krishnalila (Sports of Krishna). The temple’s dome is supported by fifty-four pillars. The temple has a big audience hall on the first floor and this is the place where religious discourses and sabhas are held regularly. The Swami Narayan Temple holds weekly assemblies at this place and many devotees attend these assemblies in the presence of the holy teachers.
History & Legend of Swaminarayan Temple
Lord Krishna has said in the Bhagavad Gita that “Whenever religion suffers tormented regression I re-create myself to uproot irreligion and reestablish good religion to protect the gentle folk and to destroy the evil ones in every age”. (Geeta 48-49).
Lord Shree Swami Narayan (who is revered as a form of Lord Vishnu) had never actually visited the city of Mumbai but whilst he had given darshan upon this earth, he did send many of his devotees and saints according to several instances to this region. These saints and disciples were sent with the main purpose of preaching about his faith and also to perform various official duties in this region. Thus, various eminent disciples of Lord Swami Narayan had during the time of Sadguru Shree Gopalanand Swamibapa and whilst Jeevanpran Bapashree and Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa gave darshan, lived in Mumbai to get their company.
Jeevanpran Swamibapa had in his childhood days lived in Kheda with his parents Muljibhai and Ichhaba. His father Muljibhai was a key government official and, therefore, had to travel to Mumbai very frequently. Hence after completing his education in his hometown of Ahmedabad, Jeevanpran Swamibapa went to Mumbai for work. He there attended this temple in the Bhuleshwar region of Mumbai. It was at that time that Jeevanpran Swamibapa met Khimjibhai Darji of Rampara and Jagjeevanbhai of Sayla, and both of them were ardent followers of Jeevanpran Bapashree. So, Jeevanpran Swamibapa was first introduced to Shree Abji Bapashree and Sadguru Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa in Mumbai. After some years of association, Jeevanpran Swamibapa finally accepted initiation as a saint from Shree Ishwarcharandasji Swamibapa and thus became the protector and propagator of the glories of Lord Shree Swami Narayan and started spreading Jeevanpran Bapashree’s sublime principles throughout the world.
Jeevanpran Swamibapa’s and his disciples were sincere devotees and followed the strict disciplines that were decreed by Lord Shree Swami Narayan. They used to travel al lot to Mumbai for official duties and whenever they travelled to or from abroad, they would definitely go to Mumbai. But the lack of facilities made it difficult for them to live in and eat according to the strict requirements of the Swami Narayan Faith. Jeevanpran Swamibapa was also a frequent traveler to Mumbai and whenever he visited, the homes of disciples would need to be emptied so that Swamibapa would live there. Therefore taking all these difficulties into consideration, Jeevanpran Swamibapa finally decided that their organization needed a building of its own for these facilities and after looking for many months, they purchased a bungalow in the Walkeshwar district of Mumbai.
Significance of the Swaminarayan Temple
The Swami Narayan Temple was built about a century ago. The Swami Narayan Sampraday had their Guru in Shri Ramanand Swami who had in the end years of his life moved from Jetpur to Faneni and here in this village, he breathed his last on the 13th day of the bright half of Magshar of the Hindu Lunar year of Samvat year 1858. After the post-death rituals of Shri Ramanand Swami were over on the 11th day of dark half of Magshar in the Samvat year 1858, Shri Sahajanand Swami held a large meeting with all the followers who had gathered there to mourn the demise of Shri Ramanand Swami.
At this moment, a pandit from Bihar Shitaldas was also present in the meeting. He had been moving from place to place in search of a Guru and thus had left his home. When he realized that Shri Ramanand Swami was the Guru who he was searching for, who would enable him in the realization of the Supreme God, he had come to Faneni to meet him. But when he reached there he realized that Shri Ramannd had already left his body and was no more in the world. In this meeting, he explained his objective to Shri Sahajanand Swami hence with serene calmness Shri Sahajanand Swami said that he would be easily able to realize his object if he chants with love and faith the word “Swami Narayan”. Consequently, the glory of the Swaminnarayan Sampraday spread far and wide and many people became devotees of Lord Swami Narayan.
In the year 1967, the disciples purchased two adjacent flats in the district of Babulnath. This accommodation was appropriate for a small temple and also for Jeevanpran Swamibapa to live in whenever he was in Mumbai. The place could also be useful for the saints to reside in, and for disciples to stay when they visited the city. After Jeevanpran Swamibapa had the temple established in Mumbai, he immediately asked his disciples and the saints to locate suitable land that could be used to build a grand Shikhar-bandh temple in the city.
Eventually, in the region of Mahalaxmi, a large plot was identified for the main temple on Bhulabhai Desai Road. This became close to one of Mumbai’s most sacred and well-regarded old temples, the Mahalaxmi temples. Before this temple was built, the plot among the large land used to be home to numerous lawless gangs. They had illegally occupied the makeshift dwellings situated there. They would loot and hurt anyone who passed through that side street after sunset. But by creating a new temple, Acharya Swamishree completely transformed the entire region of Mahalaxmi. The local officials in Mumbai hailed this transformation as a miracle and attributed the beneficial revolution of this locality to Acharya Swamishree.
When Shree Divyadarshandasji Swami was clearing the land with his associates and during the building work, he encountered many difficulties but by the divine grace of Lord Swami Narayanbapa Swamibapa and Acharya Swamishree, the troubles were overcome. On 26 February 1984, the ground breaking ceremony was performed by Acharya Swamishree performed. Building work was then commenced under the direction of Sadguru Shree Uttampurushdasji. The sanctification (Vastu) ceremony was performed at the temple on 17 April 1989 was performed at the Temple
Swaminarayan Temple Timings
The temple opens at 7:30 in the morning and closes at 8:15 in the evening. The temple closes for short intervals for the Rajbhog Thal at 11:15am and between 12 noon to 4PM. In the evening, the temple closes for Thal between 6PM to 7 PM. The temple holds Satsang sabha on Sundays between 5PM to 7PM.
Festivals Celebrated At the Swaminarayan Temple
The temple celebrates many major festivities like:
- Nrisinha Jayanti,
- Ram Navami/Swami Narayan Jayanti,
- Vaman Jayanti,
- Ganesh Chaturthi, etc.
Apart from all these, the festival of Hindola is celebrated here as part of festivities during the month of Shravan in the Indian calendar.
Poojas and Rituals at Swaminarayan Temple
Swaminarayan Temple follows all the rituals and strict disciplines of the Swami Narayan Sampraday. The priests offer the daily offerings to the God and many aartis and rituals are performed here throughout the day. On festivals, many devotees visit the temple and pray to the Lord.
How to Reach By Road, Rail & Air
Mumbai, being a major Metro city is easily accessible through all modes of transport.
By Air: There are regular flights from all the major cities of the country to Mumbai and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport is the major airport.
By Train: Mumbai has many train stations and the major ones are CST and VT. Trains from all major cities stop here.
By Bus: Regular buses cam be caught from Mumbai to a+ll from other major cities of the country and back.
Hotels in Mumbai
Mumbai has many hotels to stay. The major luxury ones are the Taj, Oberoi, and many resorts. The city also has many 3, 4 and 5-star hotels, motels and guest houses.
Temples in Mumbai
Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment capital of India and has many places to explore along with many major temples. Here are some of them:
- Shri Sidhhivinayak Temple: One of the most popular temples of Mumbai as well as of the country, the temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is visited by many common people as well as by many celebrities. The temple is known to be miraculous.
- Mumba Devi Temple: Mumba Devi is the presiding deity of Mumbai and the city was named after her. Thus, the temple is popular among the locals.
- Mahalakshmi Temple: Dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi, this temple is a popular temple among the devotees of the Goddess and the region has been named after her.
- Prabhadevi Temple: Another popular temple of the city, the temple attracts the followers of Goddess Prabhadevi.
Hence, next, whenever you happen to visit Mumbai, do visit the popular Swami Narayan Temple and enjoy spirituality in its best form.