Ak­shard­ham Tem­ple, Delhi

A TO Z INDIA - - Inside -

Lo­ca­tion: Near Niza­mud­din Bridge

Built by: Pra­mukh Swami Ma­haraj

Built in: Dur­ing 2000-05

In­au­gu­rated by: Dr. A.P.J. Ab­dul Kalam, Man­mo­han Singh

Ded­i­cated to: Swami­narayan

At­trac­tion: Largest Tem­ple com­plex in In­dia

High­lights: In­tri­cate ar­chi­tec­ture & var­i­ous shows

How to reach: One can reach Ak­shard­ham Tem­ple by tak­ing lo­cal buses, auto- rick­shaws, Metro or by hir­ing taxis from Delhi

Ak­shard­ham Tem­ple is a mar­vel of ar­chi­tec­ture that is un­fold­ing the cul­tural le­gacy of 10,000 years. The con­struc­tion of this grand struc­ture took around 5 la­bo­ri­ous years. To­day, this im­pos­ing struc­ture, stand­ing on the banks of serene Ya­muna River near Niza­mud­din Bridge in Delhi, at­tracts mil­lions of tourists and devo­tees to its doorstep. In Nov' 2005, Ak­shard­ham

Mandir was in­au­gu­rated by Dr. Ab­dul Kalam, the hon­or­able Pres­i­dent and Mr. Man­mo­han Singh, the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia.

The term 'Ak­shard­ham' is de­rived from two words 'Ak­shar' and 'Dham', where 'Ak­shar' means the eter­nal and 'dham' means 'abode'. Con­se­quently, Ak­shard­ham means the abode of the di­vine, the eter­nal. It is ac­tu­ally the abode of eter­nal val­ues, prin­ci­ples and virtues that are men­tioned in the scrip­tures (Vedas, Pu­ranas) of the Hindu mythol­ogy. Within the tem­ple, the 11 feet high gilded im­age of Bhagwan Swami Narayan ap­pears mes­mer­iz­ing to the be­holder. The im­age is en­cir­cled by the preach­ers (gu­rus) of the cult.

The metic­u­lous flora, fauna, dancers, mu­si­cians and deities drape the com­plex of Ak­shard­ham Tem­ple. The im­pos­ing struc­ture was built with the bless­ings of Pra­mukh Swami Ma­haraj, the pro­moter of BAPS (Bochasan­wasi Shri Ak­shar Pu­rushot­tam Swami­narayan Sanstha). This NGO has built ma­jes­tic and os­ten­ta­tious tem­ples world­wide, other be­ing Ak­shard­ham Tem­ple of Gu­jarat in In­dia.

Swami­narayan Ak­shard­ham Tem­ple is the quin­tes­sence of the In­dian rich le­gacy, tra­di­tions, an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture and ev­er­last­ing spir­i­tual mes­sages.

The grand struc­ture, lush gar­dens, ex­hi­bi­tions and var­i­ous other at­trac­tions peep into the her­itage of In­dia in all its as­pects and in­sights. The tem­ple com­plex show­cases the In­dian her­itage through var­i­ous ex­hi­bi­tions like 'Sa­ha­janand Pradar­shan', 'Nilka­nth Kalyan Ya­tra',' Sankruti Vi­har', 'Yag­na­pu­rush Kund' , 'Bharat Upa­van' and 'Yogi Hra­day Ka­mal'.

Sa­ha­janand Pradar­shan

'Sa­ha­janand Pradar­shan' (Hall of Val­ues) is a hall that dis­plays life-like ro­bot­ics and dio­ra­mas. Through the medium of au­dio-an­i­ma­tron­ics, the events from Bhagwan Swami­narayan's life are por­trayed. These events leave the mes­sage of peace, har­mony, mod­esty, kind ser­vice and devo­tion to God. This hall em­braces the world's small­est an­i­ma­tronic ro­bot in the out­look of Ghan­shyam Ma­haraj (the child fig­ure of Bhagwan Swami­narayan).

Nilka­nth Kalyan Ya­tra

'Nilka­nth Kalyan Ya­tra' is an­other hall that com­prises a gi­ant screen film. This 85' x 65' screen is the first and only large screen of Delhi. The the­atre por­trays a movie, which is spe­cially de­signed to show the epic pil­grim­age made by an 11 year old child (Bhagwan Swami­narayan) across In­dia.

San­skruti Vi­har

The third des­ti­na­tion is 'San­skruti Vi­har', which in­volves a boat ride of 10 min­utes. This en­thralling ride is made through pea­cock shaped boats that make their way in a non-nat­u­ral river. This river passes through the world's first univer­sity of Tak­shashila, chem­istry lab­o­ra­to­ries, an­cient hos­pi­tals, bazaars and Ajanta-El­lora caves. The ride con­cludes with a mes­sage for the fu­ture of the World.

Yag­na­pu­rush Kund / Mu­si­cal Foun­tain

Yag­na­pu­rush Kund is the fourth des­ti­na­tion em­brac­ing largest step well of In­dia. This has a huge se­ries of steps that take down to a tra­di­tional 'yagna kund'. In the day­time, these steps make a place to re­lax for the tired vis­i­tors, while in the night; these steps make the seats for the au­di­ence that come to watch the mu­si­cal foun­tain show.

Bharat Upa­van / Gar­den of In­dia

Bharat Upa­van en­com­passes lush man­i­cured lawns with trees and shrubs. Sprawled in the area of sixty acres, the gar­den is adorned by the bronze stat­ues of con­trib­u­tors to In­dian cul­ture, val­ues and na­tional pride.

Yogi Hra­day Ka­mal

Yogi Hra­day Ka­mal is a sunken gar­den that is wrought like a lo­tus. This mag­nif­i­cent gar­den fea­tures mas­sive stones stamped with quotes from le­gends of the world. The va­ri­ety of quotes ranges from Shake­speare, Martin Luther King to Swami Vivekananda and Bhagwan Swami­narayan.

Ar­chi­tec­ture

Swami­narayan Ak­shard­ham has been ac­cred­ited for be­ing the largest tem­ple com­plex of In­dia. It is amaz­ing to know that this tem­ple is built wholly in stone as per Sthaa­p­atya Shas­tra, the ar­chi­tec­tural sci­ence of In­dia. No iron or steel has been used in the con­struc­tion of this tem­ple. The beams, used for sup­port are 22ft long sin­gle piece of stone. The in­tri­cately carved pil­lars ap­pears, as if, whole po­etry has been carved in stone. The tem­ple ex­tends to the height of 10 sto­ries, where inch to inch of stone is del­i­cately im­printed and what is more, the fas­cia ap­pears re­mark­able.

This colos­sal struc­ture com­prises 234 in­tri­cately carved pil­lars, 9 flam­boy­ant domes, 20 quad­ran­gled spires and mag­nif­i­cent a Ga­jen­dra Pith. It also boasts of 20,000 idols and stat­ues that de­pict the great In­dian souls in the form of sad­hus, devo­tees, acharyas and di­vine celebri­ties. El­e­vated to the height of 141 feet, the tallest spire of the tem­ple makes the house of the im­age of Lord Swami­narayan.

An enor­mous amount of 2 mil­lion was spent for the erec­tion of this ma­jes­tic place of wor­ship. The struc­ture swal­lowed around 6000 tons of pink sand stone that was all brought from Ra­jasthan. This tech­nique guar­an­tees the fact that the shrine would last for a thou­sand years. The ed­i­fice took not less than 12 mil­lion man hours of 11,000 prac­ticed crafts­men to carve ev­ery nook and cor­ner. The splen­did ar­chi­tec­ture of this tem­ple pro­vides glimpse of dif­fer­ent ar­chi­tec­tural styles preva­lent in In­dia.

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