Akshardham Complex is a Hindu temple and a spiritual-cultural campus in New Delhi, India. The complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and developed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. Around 11,000 artisans, among whom 3000 were volunteers, have worked on the construction of the Akshardham Temple Complex.
The Akshardham temple was officially opened on 6 November 2005 by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and located near banks of the Yamuna adjacent to the 2010 commonwealth Games village. The temple was built according to the Vastu Shastra and Pancharatra Shastra.
Features of Akshardham
Akshardham Mandir: – A traditional Akshardham temple dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan that reflects the sweetness and spirituality of India’s ancient art, culture, and design. It is entirely constructed from Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. Swaminarayan is surrounded by images of the faith’s lineage of Gurus depicted either in a devotional posture. Each murti is made of paanch dhaatu in accordance to Hindu tradition. The temple doesn’t have any steel or concrete in its structure.
Nilkanth Varni Abhishek: – A hallow spiritual tradition where prayers are offered abhishek, a ritual of pouring water associated with 151 holy waterways, lakes along with ponds associated with India on to the murti of Nilkanth Varni, and express their reverence and prayers for spiritual upliftment and fulfilment of wishes.
Yogi Hraday Kamal or Lotus Garden: – A sunken garden, shaped like a lotus when viewed from above. It features big stones that are engraved with many quotes ranging from the time of Martin Luther King and Shakespeare to Swami Narayan and Vivekananda.
Premvati Ahargruh:- The food court of Premvati or Premvati Ahargruh is a restaurant serving vegetarian food and it is modelled on Maharashtra’s caves of Ajanta and Ellora along with an Ayurvedic bazaar. The restaurant caters a variety of traditional dishes.
Exhibitions of Akshardham
Sahajanand Darshan or Hall of Values (50 mins): – The Hall of Values or the Sahajanad Pradarshan display incidents from the life of Swaminarayan with the help of robotics, light, fiber optics, sound effects, music and dialogues. The incidents leave messages that tell us about the importance of peace, harmony, humility, service to others and devotion to the Almighty. The hall also features the world’s smallest animatronic robot in the form of Ghanshyam Maharaj, the child form of Swaminarayan.
Neelkanth Kalyan Yatra or Theatre (40 mins): – The Neelkanth Kalyan yathra which is a motion film screened on a giant screen is also an attraction of the complex. The measurement of theatre screen is 85-foot (26 m) length and 65-foot (20 m) width. The theatre shows a 40 minute film specially commissioned for the complex, Neelkanth Yatra, in order to count a seven-year pilgrimage made by Swaminarayan during his teenage years throughout India. There is a bronze murti of Neelkanth Varni measuring 27-foot (8.2 m) tall located outside the theatre.
Sanskruti Vihar or Boat Ride (15 mins): – One can also take a 15 minute journey through boat ride which takes you to the history of Indian heritage and discoveries made by the Indian rishis. Visitors sit in specially designed peacock shaped boats that takes visitors around an artificial river that passes through a Takshashila model the world’s premier university, chemistry laboratories, ancient hospitals, and bazaars. This gives you a clear idea about the vast Indian culture.
Musical fountain (Evening at sunset): – Known as the Yagnapurush Kund, it is India’s largest step well. Huge series of steps going down following traditions of yagna kund. These steps provide rest for the visitors during day time and it becomes a musical fountain representing the circle of life at night. The fountain derived its name from the name of Shastriji Maharaj, measuring 300 feet by 300 feet consists of 108 shrines and 2,870 steps. In its center lies an eight-petaled lotus shaped yagna kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Pancharatra shastra.
Garden of India: – It is also known as Bharat Upvan. This garden has beautiful lawns, shrubs and trees. It is lined with sculptures of bronze. These sculptures include children, women, national figures, freedom fighters, and warriors of India, including notable figures such as Mahatma Gandhi.
Entry: 9.30 am to 6.30 pm
Exhibition: 10.30 am to 6.00 pm
Exhibition Tickets: 10 am to 5 pm
Closed on Monday
Complex Entry: Free
Exhibition: Rs. 170 (Adults), Rs. 125 (Senior Citizens), Rs. 100 (Child from 4-11 years), Free (Child Below 4 years)
Musical Fountain: Rs. 30 (Adults), Rs. 20 (Child from 4-11 years), Free (Child Below 4 years)
Photography, Mobile Phones and other Electronics: Not Allowed (Cloakroom Available)
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