In an astonishingly short span of six years, from 1822 till 1828, Lord Swaminarayan sanctioned the construction of nine mandirs of exquisite beauty and architectural grandeur in Gujarat - Ahmedabad, Muli, Bhuj, Vadtal, Jetalpur, Dholera, Dholka, Junagadh and Gadhada [ 1, 3, 4].
The sadhus and devotees provided the labour, considered as seva - devotional service. The Lord Himself spiritedly carried stones on His head, hauling them up the hill from the river Ghela, to Dada's court, during the foundation laying of the Gadhada mandir. He also carried thirty-seven bricks in the Vadtal mandir's construction. These can be observed 'in situ' even today.
He further spread the concept of unique monotheism by installing murtis such as NarNarayan, LakshmiNarayan and Radha-Krshna declaring that God is one but appears in many forms. He also consecrated His own murti, named Harikrishna Maharaj in temples such as Vadtal. Interestingly, in the history of world religions, this is perhaps the first instance of monuments of worship being constructed in the life period of a religious founder.
He entrusted the day-to-day performance of the worship rituals in these mandirs to the sadhus. At a time when the land was steeped in penury, finances scant the construction of such grand temples attested to His innate divinity.
Lord Swaminarayan's objective on this earth was to establish a permanent system of achieving aatyantik kalyaan – the ultimate redemption from the cycle of life and death. He achieved this by establishing the three resolutions; the murtis (deities); shastras (scriptures) and the Dharmavanshi Acharyas (spiritual leaders).
During the last decade of Swaminarayan Bhagwan's Dharmashasan, he built 6 beautiful temples, and personally installed murtis in 3 other temples: Ahemdabad (24-2-1882) Shri NarNarayan Dev Bhuj (15-5-1823) Shri NarNarayan Dev Vadtal (3-11-1824) Shri LaxmiNarayan Dev Dholera (19-5-1826) Shri MadanMohan Dev Junagadh (1-5-1828) Shri RadhaRaman Dev Gadhada (9-10-1829) Shri Gopinathji Mahraj Muli (17-1-1823) Shri RadhaKrishna Dev Jetalpur (13-3-1826) Shri RavtiBaldevji Harikrishna Maharaj Dholka (15-5-827) Shri Morlimanorhardev Harikrishna Maharaj