Akshardham Temple in Delhi is where culture, spirituality, and architecture with some elements of modernity, come together in a unique way.
Let’s start with the fact that it has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple.
The temple boasts of eight beautifully carved mandapams, and the walls showcase timeless Hindu teachings and flamboyant devotional traditions. The central attraction of the temple is the statue of Lord Swaminarayan and 20,000 other deities, significant personalities in Indian history, and sages. You can’t help but be amazed at the stunning architecture that speaks highly of Indian cultural aspects.
The Akshardham complex has something for everyone. It’s home to India’s largest step well and mesmerizing water show, an open garden, Narayan Sarovar, various expeditions, and rituals. This complex is a paradise for spiritual seekers.
What’s interesting is that the temple was constructed by BAPS (Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) and was opened on 6th November 2005. The main attraction of the complex is the Akshardham Mandir, which stands as high as 141 foot, stretches as wide as 316 foot, and extends as long as 356 foot.
The temple’s construction is a blend of several ancient styles of Indian architecture and follows the principles of Vastu Architecture. To maximize the lifespan of this great architectural piece, the builders made no use of steel and concrete. The temple is entirely built of Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble, with nine domes and 20,000 murtis of different deities, acharyas, and sadhus.
Garbhagruh, situated under the temple’s central dome, houses the 11-foot high statue of Swaminarayan seated in Abhayamudra. Surrounding him are the figures of the divine succession of Gurus, symbolizing devotion and saintliness. The temple also has the murtis of Mythological duos, Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, and Lakshmi Narayan.
Now, let’s talk about the Mandovar, which is 25 feet high and 611 mt long. It has 230 ostentatiously carved pillars, and the top has samarans that teach people to live a spiritual life away from mundane pleasures. The middle of the Mandovar has sculptures of sages, avatars, devas, acharyas, and devotees, and the base of the Mandovar has living beings as its specialty, including elephants that signify strength, lions that symbolize bravery, and vyal that represent speed.
Don’t miss the Gajendra Peeth, which is a tribute to the elephants for their importance in Indian history and Hindu culture. It contains 148 life-sized elephants weighing 3000 tons in real. These elephants share the message of peace, beauty, and gentleness.
Explore the 60 feet long bronze relief panels at the Narayan Peeth and do Parikrama around the central figure of God. The panels have illustrations from the life of Swaminarayan.
The exhibitions at Akshardham Temple form a harmonious combination of art, spirituality, culture, and science. They bring into the picture a perfect fusion of ancient values and modern techniques to provide an experience of Universal values and Hindu heritage. Three different halls hold the three exhibits respectively, where you can witness a thousand-year-old eye surgery method, Vedic marketplace, ancient yoga, the invention of chess.
Besides, there is food court, Narayan Sarovar – where it contains water of all Indian holy rivers and lakes.
Getting to this place is convenient – catch Blue line Metro and get down in Akashardam station.