Divine chandan darshan of the Lord in Maninagar
As a form of devotion unto the supreme Lord, sants adorn Shree Ghanshyam Maharaj and Shree Harikrishna Maharaj who presides in Maninagar Mandir with garments made from fragrant, cooling sandalwood paste during the hot summer months of Vaishakh and Jeth.
The first such darshan was on the auspiscious day of Akha Trij, Sunday 16 May 2010.
"The murti in Akshardham, the murti that came onto this Earth as a human form, and the pratima murti (God in the form of paintings, statues, idols etc) are one and the same. Between them, there is not one iota of difference." - Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree
Thus, the sants and devotees express and demonstrate their love and devotion unto the Lord through their varied worship of this pratima form of the supreme Lord Swaminarayan.
Lord Swaminarayan says that the worship of God should be appropriate to and vary according to the times of the day and the seasons.
For example, in cold weather, the Lord is adorned with warm clothes and heavy gold and silver ornaments. Hot, warming food and drink are offered to the Lord. In the hot seasons, God is offered more refreshing food and dressed in much lighter clothing. Flowery and fragrant garlands are offered.
At this time of year, the temperatures in India can reach over 40°C. Therefore, the highly talented sants in Maninagar Mandir demonstrate their devotion unto Lord Swaminarayan by adorning Him with clothing made of sandalwood paste. This highly fragrant sandalwood has a very cooling and soothing effect. The sants artistically mould beautiful regal clothes and ornaments out of the paste. This sandalwood is subsequently removed and formed into lozenges, which is then used throughout the year for the impression of the tilaks by the sants and devotees.