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Abhishek is the ancient Hindu practice of pouring water over the sacred image of God to honour him and to attain his blessings. It is also an opportunity for devotees to pray to God, asking him to cleanse one’s soul.
On special occasions, panchamrut – a holy mixture of milk, yogurt, honey, sugar and ghee – is used instead of water.
In the Abhishek Mandap on the lower floor of the Mandir, a gilded brass image of Shri Nilkanth Varni (Bhagwan Swaminarayan) has been enshrined to commemorate and pay tribute to his epic journey as a teenager.
Abhishek of this small sacred image is performed daily to the chanting of Vedic verses, including the ancient peace-prayer called the Shanti-Paath, and the recital of the 108 auspicious and liberating names of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, called the Shri Sahajanand Namavali. In all, the complete ceremony takes around 10 minutes, and is performed daily between 9.30am and noon, and again from 4pm to 6pm (except Saturdays, when it ends at 5.30pm).
Devotees often offer an abhishek – or arrange for one to be performed on their behalf – on days of special significance to them, such as a birthday, wedding anniversary or in remembrance of a loved one, or sometimes to seek blessings for a personal reason.
If you would like an abhishek to be performed on your behalf on a day of significance to you, please click here.
If you would like to hear the Shri Sahajanand Namavali as it is sung at the Mandir during the abhishek, please click here.