SHREE LAXMI-NARAYAN DEV TEMPLE – VADTAL
Vadtal Shree Swaminarayan Mandir is the headquaters of Shree Laxminarayan Dev Gadi. On the day of Jyestha Sukla Baras Joban Pagi, Kuberbhai Patel, Ranchhodbhai Patel & Narayan Giri requested Shreeji Maharaj who resided in Gadhpur to build a temple in Vadtal. The Vadtal Temple was built by the “Agnya” of Shreeji Maharaj under the supervision of Brahmanand Swami & Aksharanand Swami.
Shreeji Maharaj installed the idols of Shree Laxminarayandev & Ranchodrai in the central chamber, he also installed idols of his father Shree Dharmadev, mother Bhaktidevi & Vasudev(himself “balswarup”) in the northern chamber and Harikrishna Maharaj(himself) & Radhkrishnadev in the southern chamber in Vikram Samvat 1881 Kartik Shukla Baras (Thursday November 3, 1824 A.D.). These installations took place as per the principle of “Ekeshwarwaad” (one GOD) Shikshapatri: Shlok 108,109,110,111.
Shreeji Maharaj gave S.G. Shree Brahmanand Swami 12 rupees to start construction of Vadtal Mandir. Bhagwans Shree Swaminarayan selected the land for this mandir and also created and approved the architectural plans of the mandir. He als carried bricks for the foundation of the mandir himself.
શ્રીજી પંડે જઇ ઇંટો લાવે, અન્યને જોઇ ઉમંગ આવે;
Bhagwas Shree Swaminarayan carried 37 bricks on his head for the mandir. 35 of the bricks were put in the foundation of the mandir and 2 were placed in a square recessed box created on the back of the temple wall. The temple in Vadtal is in the shape of a lotus and consists of nine domes. The construction of Vadtal mandir was completed in 15 months.
Of all the holy meeting pandals in Swaminarayan Fellowship no other one is as large and as decorative as the Pandal at Vadtal. Lord Swaminarayan used to hold devotee’s meeting in the backyard of the temple. The great saint Pavitranandji in Vikram Samvat 1925, under the instructions of the second Acharya H.H. Bhagawatprasadji Maharaj, got the majestic wooden building constructed, especially for sermon-listening and hymn-chanting saint-devotee gatherings. The design of the construction follows Vastushastra and is made after state of art technique using durable and strong teakwood. There is the traditional seat which is always graced by the Acharya Shree.
In the southwest side of the central parlour of the temple, one can see Hari Mandap, which means Shri Hari’s Pandal. Lord Swaminarayan had got His residence constructed here, which is called ‘Hari Mandap’. This place is ideal for contemplation or meditation in solitude. Lord Swaminarayan used to sit here in meditation and asked the saints to meditate at this place. When someone asked, “O Lord, why should one meditate here only?” To which He replied, “Hari Mandap is My residence and it has been assigned the status of My divine abode Akshardham on earth. My Form which adores this place, adores the imperishable abode Akshardham, due to this identity meditation on My idol is more fruitful at this place as it offers a scope for better concentration.
This place has meritorious significance being endeared residence of Lord Swaminarayan. As and when Shri Hari visited Vadtal, Shri Hari liked to stay in Hari Mandap, and at this very place He preferred to write Shikshapatri – the Gospel of life divine for devotees and followers to understand and practise the sermons and the preachings of the Lord. Hari Mandap is a living symbol of Lord’s sermons on profound subjects depicted in simple, lucid, direct local language with regional touches. One would find many such memorable things of Shri Hari which have been preserved here as Prasadi – divine objects graced by Lord Swaminarayan.
Most honourable H.H. Acharya Shree Viharilalji Maharaj had accumulated the garments, ornaments, rails, hair, footprints of Lord Swaminarayan and other articles graced by the Lord. These have been preserved in one place at Vadal in south of the temple, this place is called Akshar Bhuvan today. On the first storey of the building there is the idol of Shri Ghanshyam Maharaj in standing position and all the divine objects (Prasadi) are displayed around the idol.
On the other side of Pradakshina (going round clock-wise) there is the chariot of Shriji Maharaj and the twelve-door swing on which Shriji Maharaj used to swing, has been kept for sacred Darshan of the devotees. On the upper floor one finds Shri Ghanashyam Maharaj in sitting position. The book containing the summary of sacred scriptures prepared by Himself in His tiny age called GUTAKA, which He used to carry as Neelkanth Varni, footprints, rosaries, garments and other ascetic marks have been kept here as Prasadi. On the third floor are kept the idol of Shriji (Prasadi), engraved gates, palanquin, square platform, etc. carefully.