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Akshartirth Gondal

Gondal is a town about 40 km from Rajkot. In the 19th century it had a status of 'Gondal State'.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan often stayed in Hathibhai's darbar when He visited Gondal. Other sacred places still standing are: a balcony and a shrine at Kailasbaug.

During Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami's time, by his agna, two of his disciples, Brahmachari Achintyanandji and Krishnasevadas Swami, built a one-pinnacled mandir, and next to it a sabha mandap. When he was 82 years old Swami visited the Navlakha palace, on the bank of the river Gondli, at the request of Darbar Abhaysinh. (Today there is a government office there.) Then on the same night, Aso sud 13 V.S. 1923 at 12.45 a.m. he sat in a lotus posture in the sabha mandap and returned to Akshardham.

Swami was then cremated in 'Akshar Wadi', a plot of land near the Gondli river, just outside the town. A small shrine named 'Akshar Deri' was built there by Maharaja Sangramsinhji's queen, Monghiba. It was by Swami's blessings that Maharaja Bhagwatsinhji was born to her.

Decades later, Bhagwatsinhji granted this land to Shastriji Maharaj to build a three-spired mandir. It was built in only two years and the murtis of Akshar and Purushottam were consecrated in the central shrine, on the first floor on Vaishakh sud 10, V.S. 1990 (23 May 1934). On the ground floor, exactly on Swami's cremation place, Shastriji Maharaj built the present Akshar Deri, with its unique shape that has become the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha's symbol (logo), famed worldwide.

About 50 metres from the mandir, a magnificent shrine was built on the spot where Yogiji Maharaj was cremated. This is known as Yogi Smruti Mandir, opposite which there is a hall of his sacred relics.

It was Yogiji Maharaj who infinitely increased the glory of this mandir, as well as of Akshar Deri. He performed its mahapuja for 40 years. He advised and blessed devotees suffering from illnesses and other worldly problems to do pradakshinas of Akshar Deri. Many experienced miraculous recoveries and peace. Swami also wrote a booklet 'Akshar Tirth', in which he immensely glorified Akshar Deri. Pramukh Swami Maharaj, too, continues to enjoin bhaktas to do pradakshina and mahapuja here.

Every year he celebrates Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami's birthday on Sharad Punam here, as well as the whole Diwali festival, including Annakut and Labh Pancham.



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