Swaminarayan Museum Naranpura
A cherished dream and brainchild of Shree TejendraPrasadji Maharaj, Shree Swaminarayan Museum stands resplendent today, to be inaugurated on Tuesday, 8 March, 2011. A doyen among the highly revered Swaminarayan acharyas, Shri TejendraPrasadji Maharaj had had the vision for the museum years ago. He voluntarily retired from the Acharyaship to personally supervise the museum to its completion and dedicate time in ample measure to His precious vision. These painstaking measures have resulted in a serene edifice that stands testimony to the vision devoted to conserving Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan’s personal effects/belongings and extending their spiritually benevolent aura to anyone who might visit the monumental museum.
The museum, located on a sprawling campus of 25,000 m2 at Naranpura, Ahmedabad, has come up under the auspices of the Swaminarayan Mandir, Kalupur. This is a campus of a profound aesthetic, architectural, and spiritual amalgam. The management of the museum intends to ensure that the museum retains its raison d’être and grows manifold in fame and splendour.
Proceeds from Shri TejendraPrasadji Maharaj’s 60th birthday were, under His insistence, dedicated to this project. His wish has been complied with. However, this being a small amount as compared to the sheer enormity of the project, it is expected that followers will donate generously, and Shri TejendraPrasadji Maharaj hopes that people will come forward to make a resounding success of the project.
The most important exhibit — and the very heart of this museum — is a manuscript of Bhagvan Shree Swaminarayan. Shree TejendraPrasadji Maharaj is Himself its owner. No other temple or person has His writing or signature. No one has even a copy. This is a legal document, a power of attorney given by Bhagvan Shree Swaminarayan to one of His followers on a 1 stamp paper, endorsed by a British officer. In the main hall of the museum, this letter will be the only exhibit. It is in Bhagvan Shree Swaminarayan’s own handwriting, wherein he proclaims His status as being the Lord Himself. It thus promises to be the clinching attraction at the museum, being an extremely rare, significant, and precious document. The other equally vital exhibit is the horoscope of Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan Himself, which underlines the rarity, solemnity, and sacred nature of the exhibits but also in addition that of the fantastic museum itself.
Other attractions would include Bhagvan Shree Swaminarayan’s personal belongings such as clothes, vessels, malas, footprints, a silver toothpick, fragments of His hair and nails, and so on. The collection also includes a flute, which has a story all its own. One of His followers once commented that Lord Krishna was known for playing the flute. On hearing this, Bhagvan Shree took the flute and played on it with effortless ease!
The display items will be changed periodically to retain the interest of visitors. The collection is expected to grow as people are still donating objects that can be exhibited.
In the final analysis, a visit to the Lord’s own temple-museum will prove to be a soulful journey into a grand monument that invigorates thoroughly in the presence of His own artifacts. It also thereby offers a welcome respite to the traveler on the path of Life itself.
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.