Location: Sector 20, J Road, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Built in: During 1979 -1992
Built by: Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Dedicated to: Swaminarayan
Attraction: One of the largest temple complexes in Gujarat
Highlights: Intricate architecture & various exhibitions
How to reach: One can reach Akshardham Temple by taking local buses, auto- Rickshaws or by hiring taxis from Gandhinagar
Akshardham Temple Gandhinagar Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is an architectural phenomenon that is recounting the cultural heritage of India. Having one of the largest temple complexes in Gujarat, Akshardham is a wonderful shrine located in the heart of Gandhinagar. The magnificent monument is easily accessible by the local means of transport available in the city. Predecessor to Akshardham at Delhi, the temple was constructed by the same organization BAPS (Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) with the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
In Nov’ 1992, Akshardham Mandir was inaugurated by Pramukh Maharaj himself, the promoter of BAPS. In the present day, Akshardham Temple has become a major and popular attraction amongst the devotees and tourists. Prolific effort of BAPS, Akshardham Temple is a center to encourage art, culture and values of India. Akshardham is an excellent specimen of Indian roots, where art is ageless, culture is borderless and values are changeless.
The sanctum sanctorum embraces the seven feet tall, gilded image of Lord Swaminarayan. Hari Mandapam, Prasadi Mandapam and Vibhuti Mandapam are name allotted to the different floors. These floors embrace various sections, where people are engaged in the selfless service to the Lord. The main idea behind these programs is to introduce people with the philosophy of Lord Swaminarayan. The aim of BAPS’ is to educate people about the rich spiritual and cultural roots of India.
Designed on the lines of Sthapatya Shashtra, Swaminarayan Akshardham is the paradigm of silence and peace. Akshardham presents a perfect blend of devotion, art, architecture, education, exhibitions and research at one venue. In the temple complex, ‘Sahajanand’, ‘Sat-Chit-Anand’ and ‘Nityanand’ are three permanent exhibition halls that are made to enlighten the visitor on spiritual matters.
Sahajanand is a mind-blowing exhibition, which depicts the life of Lord Swaminarayan by the means of ingenious settings and shows. The exhibition incorporates a video show of ‘travel in time’, a cosmos of fiber-optics, a miniature replica of Chhapiya village, a ‘Journey through India’ and not less than three ‘sound-n-light’ shows.
This is another permanent exhibition that has “Integrovision”, a fantastic 14-screen multimedia presentation. It elucidates the Vedic philosophy and man’s quest for the eternal truth with amazing imagery. Besides the multimedia presentation, the exhibition comprises a ‘tunnel of mirrors’, glass mosaic and musical fountains that dance on tunes.
Following Sat-Chit-Anand, Nityanand is an additional presentation where messages of the Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata are displayed in the course of walk-through dioramas and fiberglass figures. The show comprises an audio-animatronics show, a replica of Hastinapur Palace from the Mahabharata, a blueprint of a pleasant Gurukula, devotional compositions of saint-poets and an explanation on ‘Harmony of world religions’.
Sahajanand Van is a contemplative garden where nature looks at its apex. The serene beauty of this garden landscapes the magnificent structure of Akshardham. Festooned with flora and fauna, the garden appears enchanting in the company of spray fountains, herbal gardens, swings, waterfalls and lakes. Sprawled in fifteen acres, Sahajanand Van offers truly a sight to behold.
AARSH – Research Center
The Akshardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH) is an innovative research institute that comprises a loaded library, study centers and archives. The center aims at utilizing insight of the past, studying the present trend and arranging possible solutions for the future.
After employing continuous labor for 13 years, the colossal structure took its complete form. The colonnade to this shrine is approximately 1,751 feet (534 meters) in its length. The massive structure extends to 108 feet in height, 240 feet in length and 131 feet in width. Considered as an architectural masterwork, the imposing temple consumed 6,000 tonnes of pink sandstone that was imported from Rajasthan. The intricate carvings boast of the skilled artisans of Bansipahadpur. No steel or iron has been used in the construction of temple to ensure the maximum life of the monument.