(Last Updated on : 11/11/2014)
Opulence, beauty, artistry and magnificence are ideal to define Akshardham Temple, New Delhi. This shrine was inaugurated on November 6, 2005 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS (Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha). Today it is situated near Noida Mor in New Delhi. 'Akshar' in the Vedas have been defined as a place where purity and devotion encompasses each other and Akshardham is the abode of the divine power. Indian is known as the land of glorious ancient temples. But Akshardham temple is one of those few specimens that mirror the contemporary Indian architectural style. Carved out on the banks of River Yamuna, Akshardham temple commands enormous tourist attention.
This modern Indian temple in New Delhi has been etched out of Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble with episodes from the life of Swaminarayan, the primary deity, adorning its walls. Sprawling green lawns and marbled pavement welcomes the visitors. As travelers enter the campus they will come across the main building at the centre of the complex. It is a 141-feet high monument and is designed according to ancient Vedic texts known as Sthapatya-Shastra. The sculptures reflect amalgamated Indian styles of architecture. Apart from these there are sculptures of Hindu deities of Lord Ram, Goddess Sita, Lord Krishna, Shiva-Parvati and others.
Within the central dome of the Akshardham temple an 11feet high, gilded image of Bhagwan Swaminarayan has been consecrated. He is surrounded by the gurus of his sect. The main shrine consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 rhetorically decorated domes, 20 quadrangle shikharas, Gajendra Pitha (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 statues of India's greatest sages, devotees, acharyas and divine personas. Akshardham carved details of flora, fauna, dancers, musicians and deities covering its surface from top to bottom are simply splendid.
Besides the main temple one can also check out Sahajanand Pradarshan that features life-like robotics, dioramas and incidents from Bhagwan Swaminarayan's life, presenting his message of peace, harmony, humility, service to others and devotion to God. The hall features the world's smallest animatronic robot in the form of Ghanshyam Maharaj, the child form of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Nilkanth Kalyan Yatra, a theatre hall, houses Delhi's first and only large format screen. This theatre organises a movie specially commissioned for the complex that shows the journey Bhagwan Swaminarayan made during his teenage years across the length and breadth of India.
Yagnapurush Kund is a major tourist attraction at Akshardham, New Delhi. This step well features a flight of stairs that taper down to a traditional 'yajna kund'. At night, a musical fountain show representing the circle of life is played to an audience seated on the same steps. The Bharat Upavan, or 'Garden of India' has lush green groomed lawns, trees and shrubs, dotted with bronze sculptures of contributors to India's culture, including children of India, women of India and heroes of India. The Yogi Hraday Kamal, a sunken garden, shaped like a lotus, features large stones engraved with quotes from world luminaries ranging from Shakespeare and Martin Luther King to Swami Vivekananda and Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Other novelties include Nilkanth Abishek Mandapam, Narayan Sarovar, AARSH Centre and Premvati restaurant.
The moment of prestige arrived for Akshardham temple, New Delhi when it entered the Guinness Book of world Records as the World's Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. With passing time Akshardham temple in New Delhi has become one of the primary tourist attractions of the capital city. As a result tight security has been posted within and outside the temple premises. Cameras, cell phones and foods are not allowed within the campus. To entertain the visitors several shows like musical fountains, night lighting, boat rides and others are organised almost on a regular basis.
To put it briefly, Akshardham temple, New Delhi, encompasses beauty, culture, tradition, heritage and spirituality.