Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Karachi
|Shri Swaminarayan Mandir|
سوامی نارائن مندر
The Shikhar of the Swaminarayan Temple in Karachi
|Locale||M. A. Jinnah Road, Karachi|
|Sanctum||Narnarayan Dev and Swaminarayan|
The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Karachi (Urdu: شری سوامی نارائن مندر) is a Hindu temple that belongs to the NarNarayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday and is the only Swaminarayan temple in Pakistan. The temple is notable for its size and frontage, over 32,306 square yards (27,012 m2) on the M. A. Jinnah Road in Karachi city. The temple celebrated its anniversary of 150 years in April 2004. It is believed that not only Hindus but also adherents of Islam visit the temple, which adds to its notability. There is a sacred cowshed within the premises of this temple. The temple is located at the centre of a Hindu neighborhood in Karachi. The building that housed a dharmshala (guest house) for visiting devotees has now been converted to the office of the City District Government. The idols of Harikrishna Maharaj and Radha Krishna Dev were installed by Acharya Keshav Prasadji Maharaj. He ordered all devotees of the Sampraday to donate metal relics used by Lord Swaminarayan himself. These metal relics were used to make the idols. Koshalendra Prasadji, the current heir of the Nar-Narayan Dev Gadi plans to shift the holy idols to Pennsylvania. This project is known as Devasya.
Independence of Pakistan and India and after
The temple became a refugee camp in 1947. The original images of Swaminarayan were removed and taken to India during the turbulent times of independence. One murti that was originally at this temple is now located in Khan Village, Rajasthan. People who wished to settle in India from all over Sindh awaited their departure to India by ship at this temple. The temple was visited by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan during this period. In 1989, for the first time since the independence in 1947, a group of sadhus from the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad visited the temple. Since then, small groups from the Ahmedabad temple pay this temple a visit every few years in a pilgrimage.
Festivals and events
According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, Swaminarayan Jayanti, Ram Navami, Janmastami, Dussehra, Diwali and almost all of the main religious festivals are celebrated by Hindus in this temple. Holi is celebrated with the holi bonfire lit at the centre of the temple grounds, followed by the play with colours. Janmashtami is celebrated with singing bhajans and sermons on Krishna, while on Diwali, devotees light lamps and candles to welcome Rama from his fourteen-year exile, at the end of which he defeated Ravana and young men burst crackers at the temple on the occasion. The Holi festival celebrations that take place at this temple are the biggest in Karachi.
The temple also doubles as a marriage venue. In 2008, a mass wedding arrangement was made for 20 poor couples.
Guru Nanak temple
The Gurdwara Sahib houses three sets of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Palki Sahib. There are pictures of the Gurus and a small shrine devoted to Guru Nanak Dev Ji. There is a Hindu bell in the Gurdwara Sahib as well.
The whole compound is protected by a security guard to protect the small number of Hindu families.
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