The Gandhingar based devotees of Lord Ayyappa, with a view to catering to the religious, spiritual, social, educational, and cultural needs of the residents of Gandhinagar, in general, established the Gandhinagar Ayyappa Pooja Samiti in 1970 as a Charitable Trust in Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat. Since then, the Mandala Poojas (Nov. 16/17 to Jan. 14 every year) were being performed with Bhajanas at the residents of devotees and the Makaravilakku Pooja being spiritually and ceremoniously performed on 14th January every year with flamboyant religious procession accompanied by traditional musical accompaniments originating from Panchdev temple and terminating at a particular common plot in Sector 17, to be followed by various rituals and poojas. Right from the beginning, the Samiti was relentlessly striving to have its own premise and a small temple to facilitate worship of Lord Ayyappa by the resident devotees of Gandhinagar. Here is a brief retrospect about the origin of the Temple.
In 1991, Government of Gujarat was pleased to allot a plot of land to the Samiti, in Sector 1, Gandhinagar for construction of a temple and since 1994, Mandala Poojas were being performed at this plot with daily Bhajans during November 16/17-January 14. In the year 1998, the present temple came into existence on the said plot. The “Devaprashnam” to find out various rituals, to be observed prior to the construction and thereafter, to purify the land and make it worthy of housing a temple, was done by the famous Astrologer Shri K.G. Kaimal of Cheppad and Shri Bhargavan Pillai.
As per the disclosure emanating from “Devaprashnam”, Tantri Bradmashri Puthumana Sreedharan Nampoothiri assisted by his acolytes performed the purification ceremony by performing various poojas for seven consecutive days. Pursuant to the foundation-stone laying ceremony of the temple (Shilanyas) performed by the Tantri on 16.09.1995, the construction of the Temple building was done according to the plan of the famous Temple Architect of Kerala - Shri Kanippayyoor Krishnan Namboothiripad. With sustained efforts, benevolence, unstinted support and whole-hearted cooperation from well-wishers, organizations and devotees, the Samiti could enrich the construction of the Ayyappa Temple on the said plot in early 1998, depicting traditional Kerala style of architecture.
The temple has the Sanctum Sanctorum built in the traditional style visible in Kerala Temples. Thereafter, the idol installation ceremony, known as “Prana Pratishta”, of the main deity Lord Ayyappa and sub-deities - Ganapati, Goddess Durga, Hanuman and Nagaraja & Nagayakshi, was solemnized by the Tantri and his entourage from Kerala on 24th April, 1998. That was the auspicious day, when the much awaited dream of Ayyappa devotees in Gandhinagar was transformed into a reality, with heavenly blessings from the Lord Ayyappa in the form of Eagle (Garuda) hovering above the temple premises amidst devout chanting from the devotees echoing “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa (O Great Lord, our obeisance before you for refuge)”. Since then, daily morning and evening Poojas are performed at the temple besides special poojas on different/important occasions.
Ever since the premise was sanctified in the form of a temple, the Prana Prathishta Day is being celebrated annually with “Shreemad Bhagavat Saptaham”, Bhajan, Procession, Annadanam, Fireworks, etc,. Also, Mandala-Makaravilakku period of the Main Temple of Lord Ayyappa - “Sabarimala” in Kerala - is also being celebrated in this temple during the period 16/17 November to 14th January every year with daily Bhajana, special poojas, etc,. Mandala Pooja rituals on 26th/27th of December and Makaravilakku celebrations on 14th January of every year are the main attractions during this period.
The Temple is being run with customary daily poojas and ceremonies connected therewith and this divine place has proved to be a boon to the devotees, not only of Gandhinagar, but also of neighbouring areas. In front of the Main Temple Building, is an “Aanakkottil”, juxtapose to which a “Bhajana Mandapam (Seva Panthal)” is also situated. For performing Annadanam and other functions of the Temple, a two storied Hall is constructed in the campus of the Temple.
As per the Vedic tradition and requirement, on completion of 10 years of the PRANA PRATISHTA, the “PUNAH PRATISHTA” of the Shrines was performed in June, 2012 after carrying out necessary renovation of the “Shree Kovils”, based on the advice of temple architect Shri Kanippayyoor Krishnan Namboothiripad and Vastu Expert of Kerala Shri Vezhapparampu Namboothiri. Accordingly, since 2013, the annual celebration of the temple is being organized on the “PUNAH PRATISHTA” day with the same content and devotion as was being done till 2011 to commemorate the Prana Pratishta anniversary.