Located on 14 Diamond Harbour Road in Joka area and regarded as one of the most remarkable temple complexes in the city of Calcutta, the majestic Swaminarayan Temple, a new addition to the numerous holy places in the city, is officially known as BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.
BAPS or the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, a Hindu denomination within the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, was founded by Yagnapurushdas Shasriji Maharaj in 1905.It was founded on the basis of his conviction that Swaminarayan is always present on earth through a lineage of gurus starting with Gunatitanand Swami. However, the main temple in Joka was envisioned by HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the then Spiritual Guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, as it is believed that at the time of visiting Ganga Sagar, Lord Swaminarayan, as Nilkanth Varni, had passed through this land. Nevertheless, after a unique journey of construction and completion of the project, the huge temple was consecrated and opened to the public in the year 2014.
The magnificent Swaminarayan Temple, located very near to the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta and spreading a scintillating, divine aura around the atmosphere, resembles the iconic temples of Khajuraho or the Chalukyan temples in the Deccan, reflecting the brilliance of Indian ancient temple architecture.
While the vast complex contains several temples, the two storey tall central shrine, made of Marble, Sandstone and Redstone and accessible by long stairs, is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and contains a golden idol of Nilkant Varni in a glass case in the lower level. The inside of the tall structure of the gracefully dignified temple, adorned with arches, columns and ceiling, aesthetically decorated with exotic reliefs and sculptures, resembles the famous Jain of Mount Abu in Rajasthan. With the onset of dusk, the illuminated structure of the temple creates a magical effect of peace and tranquillity with the sound of bells and incantations. The entire complex, majestic yet spiritual, creates a soothing vibe for the body and the soul, enough to calm one down and relax.
The temple complex, decorated with artificial ponds and fountains, numerous sculptures and pavilions, along with the greenery around the main shrine, contains several other smaller temples, dedicated to different Hindu gods and goddesses, apart from different incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
The carefully maintained gardens, in-between sandstone pathways, adds a distinctive divine look to the temples.
Apart from the temples, the complex also contains a car parking facility, washrooms, a library, a gift store and a big food court, equipped with 500 sitting arrangements and offering various veg snacks, completely veg dishes and beverages for the visitors.