According to Swaminarayan Hinduism, the word Akshardham means the abode of God and believed by followers as a temporal home of God on earth. Opened on 6th of November 2005 by the them President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, it is located near the banks of the Yamuna river in eastern New Delhi. The temple, at the centre of the complex, was built keeping in mind the Vastu shastra and Pancharatra shastra. The temple complex consists of an Abhisheka Mandap, Sahaj Anand water show, a thematic garden and three exhibitions.
History of Akshardham Temple
The Akshardham Temple at Delhi was envisioned in 1968 when Yogiji Maharaj, the spiritual head of an organization expressed his wish for constructing a grand temple on the banks of the Yamuna river. Yogiji Maharaj died in 1971, but nothing could be done to start the implementation of the temple project.
In 1982, Yogiji Maharaj’s successor as the spiritual head, continue fulfilling the dream of his guru Yogiji Maharaj and prompted devotees to look into the possibility of building the temple in Delhi. Several different places were suggested, including Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, and Faridabad. Pramukh Swami Maharaj stood firm in following the wishes of Yogiji Maharaj to build a temple on the Yamuna.
After 18 years of the Swamiji’s demise, In April 2000, the Delhi Development Authority offered 60 acres of land, and the Uttar Pradesh Government offered 30 acres for the project. Actual construction on the temple began on 8 November 2000 and thus Akshardham was opened on 6 November 2005. It took almost five years to comple the temple.
Architecture and Features of Akshardham Temple of Delhi
Swaminarayan Akshardham complex is known for its architectural and designing grandeur. It rises 141-foot high, spans 316-foot wide, and extends 356-foot long. It is intricately carved with flora, fauna, dancers, musicians, and deities.
The Akashardham temple complex is designed with the standards of Maharishi Vastu Architecture. It features a blend of architectural styles across India. Rajasthani pink sandstone have extensively been used in its construction. The temple is based on traditional Hindu architectural guidelines on maximum temple life span, it makes no use of metal and has no support from steel or concrete.
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234 ornately carved pillars, nine domes, and 20,000 murtis of sadhus, devotees, and acharyas are also used in the temple. The mandir also features the Gajendra Pith at its base, a plinth paying tribute to the elephant for its importance in Hindu culture and India’s history. It contains 148 life sized elephants in total weighing a total of 3000 tons.
An 11-foot high statue of Swaminarayan in seating position lies under the temple’s central dome. Swaminarayan is surrounded by images of the faith’s lineage of Gurus depicted either in a devotional posture or in a posture of service. The temple also houses the murtis of Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, and Lakshmi Narayan.
An important feature of the temple complex is a musical fountain, or the Yagnapurush Kund which is regarded as India’s largest step well. It features a large series of steps down to a traditional ‘yagna kund’. During the day, these steps provide rest for the visitors to the complex and at night, a musical fountain show representing the circle of life is played to an audience which is seated on the same steps. The fountain is named after the Shastriji Maharaj. The fountain measures 300 feet by 300 feet with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its centre lies an eight-petaled lotus shaped yagna kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Panchratrashastra.
Named as Bharat Upavan, the garden of Akshardham has lush manicured lawns, trees, and shrubs. The garden is lined with bronze sculptures of contributors to India’s culture and history. These sculptures include children, women, national figures, freedom fighters, and warriors of India, including notable figures such as Mahatma Gandhi.
Timings and Tickets
9.30 AM to 6.30 PM Daily
Entry to the temple is free but entry to exhibition is ticketed as under:
Adults : Rs 170
Senior Citizen :Rs 125
Child (4-11 yrs) : Rs 100
Child (Below 4 yrs) : Free
Musical Fountain: Fee | Ticket
Adults : Rs 30
Senior Citizen : Rs 30
Child (4-11 yrs) : Rs 20
Child (Below 4 yrs) : Free
The temple complex remains closed on Monday.
Photography is not allowed.
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