(45 min. Excursion from Ayodhya | 2.5 hrs. from Lucknow)
Chhapaiya or Chappiya (or often spelt as Chapaiya) is a village in Gonda District in the state of Uttar Pradesh about 50 km from district headquarter Gonda and 40 kilometres from the major city of Ayodhya.
Its singular claim to fame is as the birthplace of Lord Swaminarayan. Swaminarayan (1781 – 1830 CE) was incarnated here on 2nd April 1781 as Ghanshyam, making this village a pilgrim place for his followers worldwide. Akshardham temples in Ahmedabad & New Delhi are dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan. Gujratis are the main followers of this sect and regard Chappiya as a very sacred pilgrimage to visit.
There are identified places where Lord Swaminarayan as a child played with other kids, climbed a tree that are now a part of the sacred visit and faith. The lake where he is said to have revived dead fish from a fisherman’s catch also is a part of this excursion.
The following are the holy sites in Chhapaiya…
Ghanshyam Bhavan: The beautiful monument erected at the birthplace of Lord Swaminarayan. A temple on this place was erected by Acharya Shri Ayodhya Prasad Ji Maharaj in 1863, after passing away of Swminarayan in 1830. Later, after 47 years another big temple was built by Acharya Shri Purushottam Prasad Ji Maharaj in 1910. This is constructed in marble, and a project was started in year 2004 by Acharya Shree Tejendra Prasad Ji Maharaj.
There is a marble decorated room on the ground floor of Ghanshyam Bhavan. This is actually the exact location of Dharmadev’s house where Lord Ghanshyam was born.
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir: This temple is near Ghanshyam Bhavan.
Narayan Sarovar : This is the sacred water pool where Ghanshyam often bathed. It is just outside the temple complex.
Trikonyu Khetar (Triangular Farm): Where Ghanshyam sent birds into samadhi.
Meen Sarovar : This is a small lake (dry during summers though) where Ghanshyam brought dead fish back to life and instructed the fisherman not to kill fish for a living.
A shrine is also located at the place where a demon Kalidutt, who came to kill him was defeated.