BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Bartlett

#36 of 135 in Historic Sites in Illinois
Must see · Religious Site · Educational Site
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir of Chicago, Illinois is a traditional Hindu place of worship built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, which is headed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, is a denomination of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism. The mandir, located in the Chicago suburb of Bartlett, opened in the spring of 1953. It is built of hand-carved Italian marble and Turkish limestone. The mandir is the largest of its kind in Illinois and was constructed according to guidelines outlined in ancient Hindu texts of temple architecture. The complex spreads over 27 acres and, in addition to the mandir, includes a haveli and a small bookstore. The haveli is a cultural center in which weekly congregations are held. The mandir is open daily for worship and to visitors.
The temple, classified within traditional Hindu architecture as a ‘Shikharbadha mandir,’ has been built according to principles laid out in the Shilpa Shastras. The Shilpa Shastras are Hindu texts prescribing standards of sacred architecture. Within the mandir are different shrines, in which murtis (sacred images of Hindu deities) have been installed. The central shrine holds the murti of Swaminarayan, with Gunatitanand Swami to his left, together worshipped as Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj. Other shrines hold the murtis of Ghanshyam Maharaj, Harikrishna Maharaj, Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Shiva Parvati, Shri Sita Ram, Hanumanji, Ganapatiji and the lineage of BAPS gurus who are Swaminarayan’s spiritual successors. The murtis become worthy of worship after being imbued with the living presence of the deities. Accordingly, the Swaminarayan sadhus (Hindu monks) offer devotional worship to the deities throughout the day. The sadhus awaken the deities before dawn by singing morning hymns, called prabhatiya. Mangala aarti, which is the first of five aartis, is also performed at this time. Aarti is a ritual where devotees sing the glory of God while a lighted wick is circulated before the murtis. After mangala aarti, the deities are bathed and offered food and garments that vary with the season. After the murtis have been adorned with garments, shangaar aarti is performed. At midday, rajabhoga aarti is performed and food is offered to the murtis. Food that has been offered to the deities is considered sanctified, and is distributed to devotees as holy prasadam. In the evening, sandhya aarti is performed before offering food to the murtis. The sadhus put the murtis to rest by adorning them with night garments. Shayana aarti is performed at this time. Chamber doors are closed when food is being offered and when the murtis are put to rest.
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  • Once Great architecture marvel from BAPS. I have been to their few temples including Akshardham in Delhi which is ultimate of all. Clean, neat and also having restaurant which will be treat for all....  more »
  • This is the single most impressive architectural structure outside the city. It has a beauty and serenity that is hard to find anywhere else. The feeling you get as you wander throughout this...  more »
  • Gorgeous marble art work and very peaceful & spiritual atmosphere. The garden is very beautiful. There is a store selling unique souvenirs & other interesting items from India. Food court is decent with lot of North Indian food items including tasty desserts. This white beauty is a must see attraction.
  • This is a great place to spend your time spiritually. This temple is an architectural marvel and you will be amazed by its looks and the detail. You have ample parking space. It had a kitchen which offers authentic indian food and sweets. The food is awesome. The gardens are beautifully maintained and it's a visual treat to your eyes.
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