Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kalupur
About the location: The glorious, multi-coloured, wood carved Swaminarayan Temple in the old city, was built in 1822 as the first temple of the Swaminarayan Hindu sect. Followers believe the sect’s founder, Swaminarayan (1781–1830), was the Supreme Being. The start of the daily Heritage Walk here at 8am usually coincides with worship at the temple, with devotees thronging the venue. Each paneling is made of Burma teak wood with artistic embellishments. The gateway sculptures have Rajasthani costumes and colours as well. The main deities of the temple are Nar Narayan Dev, Shree Radha Krishna Dev, Shree Dharmabhaktimata and Hari Krushna Maharaj, Shree Bal Swarup Ghanshyam Maharaj and Shree Ranghmohal Ghanshyam Maharaj. The western section of the temple is allocated as the residency for ascetic or Sankhya Yogi women.
Brief History : The origin of the temple goes back to early 19th century when the British had dominance in most parts of India. This is the first temple of the Swaminarayan sect, and was built on the instructions of the founder, Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan. An officer, Sir Dunlop was so enthralled with activities of Swaminarayan, that on behalf of the government he donated 5,000 acres for the temple to be set up. Once the impressive structure was ready, a 101 gun salute to the temple was organised by him. Different sections of the temple were added subsequently. The main structure was divided into the North Gateway, Nar Narayan Temple, Akshar Bhawan, Rang Mahol and residences for holy women and students. A mansion built by Acharya Maharjshree Keshavprasadji Maharaj came up in 1871.
Secular area and Heritage Walk : TKalupur area in Ahmedabad where the temple is located in a Muslim dominated area. Communal harmony was shown during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake when the Muslim neighbours cooked food and gave it to the temple authorities, who accepted it as they needed it to distribute to earthquake victims.
A Heritage Walk of Ahmedabad city was started on 19 November 1997 by the local municipal corporation in association with the Foundation for Conservation and Research of Urban Traditional Architecture (CRUTA). The walk starts from this temple in the Kalupur area of the city and ends at the Jama Masjid, after touring 18 sites. The one and a half kilometer long walk takes three hours to complete. In 1999, the temple held an exhibition of photographs relating to the culture and architecture of the city as part of the Heritage Week celebrations. In 2003, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, chose to lead this walk along with his cabinet colleagues to spread the message of peace.
How to get there
By Road: Gujarat has one of the better-developed road networks in India. Ahmedabad is well connected with all major cities and towns by road. Prominent bus stops are located at Gitamandir near Kalupur Railway Station and Paldi. Regular bus services are available by Gujarat state transport buses and private operators to all the major destinations of the state.
By Rail: The main railway station is located in the Kalupur area. This station falls under the prominent national railway circuit and is connected to all major cities of India. If you are on the western side of the Sabarmati river, then you can go to the Gandhigram station near Ashram road to buy your railway tickets easily.
By Air: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport at Ahmedabad is an international airport with direct flights to USA, UK, Singapore, Dubai and other international hubs. Numerous domestic flights are also operational from here.