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Swaminarayan Akshardham

Swaminarayan Akshardham is a temple complex in New Delhi. It is also calledDelhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham. The temple complex contains displays which portrays thousands of years of Indian culture, architecture and spirituality. The entire complex was conceived, developed and inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The Swami is the spiritual premier of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. Over 3,000 volunteers and 7,000 artisans from the foundation constructed Akshardham.

The temple complex attracts almost 70 percent of all tourists visiting New Delhi. It was officially inaugurated on 6th November 2005. It is adjacent to the Yamuna River not far from the Commonwealth Games Village in east Delhi. The primary temple, which is at the centre of the entire complex, has been built in accordance to the Pancharatra Shastra and the Vastu Shastra. Besides the large primary temple which has been crafted almost entirely of stone, the complex contains exhibitions depicting incidents from the life of Swaminarayan, Indian History and an IMAX feature portraying the life of Swaminarayan as a teenage yogi (Nilakanth), a musical fountain which explains the message given by the Upanishads and several large gardens.

History of Swaminarayan Akshardham

The construction of the building had been in the planning stage in 1968 as a dream of Yogiji Maharaj. Yogiji Maharaj was the spiritual premier of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha at that time. He strongly desired to construct a grand temple that would be located on the banks of the River Yamuna, dedicated to the families devoted to Swaminarayan who were staying in New Delhi. However, all Attempts made to commence the undertaking were met with great problems and as a result very few advances were made. Unfortunate Yogiji Maharaj passed away in 1971, leaving his vision unfulfilled.

Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who is the spiritual successor to Yogiji Maharaj and is the current head of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, decided in 1982, to explore possibilities of fulfilling the vision of Yogiji Maharaj and thus he prompted his devotees to find a method to commence building the temple in New Delhi. Accordingly, a request was forwarded to the DDA (Delhi Development Authority) and several viable locations were suggested to the Sanstha including Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Faridabad. However, Pramukh Swami Maharaj wanted to fulfil the vision of Yogiji Maharaj to the letter and thus was eager to construct the temple on the banks of the Yamuna.

After 18 years of lobbying the Delhi Development Authority agreed to give 60 acres (or 240,000 m2) to the Sansthan. Later, Uttar Pradesh (UP) Government also offered another 30 acres (or 120,000 m2) for the temple. When he received the land, Pramukh Swami Maharaj conducted a puja upon the site in order to ensure success for the project. Actual construction on the complex began on the 8th of November 2000. Akshardham was finally opened to the public on the 6th November 2005, the entire construction being completed only two days lesser than five years.

On the 17th December 2007, Mr. Michael Whitty who is an official adjudicator for world records for the Guinness Book of World Records arrived at Ahmadabad in Gujrat to present Pramukh Swami Maharaj with a world record for the  Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha for the construction of the Akshardham complex.

The record was given to Swaminarayan Akshardham for being the World's Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple.

The Temple Complex also contains the Akshardham Centre for Applied Research in Social Harmony was students can pursue education and research on tribal culture, education and other related fields.

Architecture of Swaminarayan Akshardham

The primary monument is at the centre of the complex and is 316-foot (96 m) wide and is 141-foot (43 m) high, and is 356-foot (109 m) long. It is carved from top to bottom with details and illustrations of various flora, fauna, musicians, dancers and deities.

The entire monument has been designed in accordance with an ancient Vedantic text known as the Sthapatya Shastra. The architectural style features a mix of various styles from across the country. It has been constructed entirely using pink sandstone from Rajasthan and the famous Italian Carrara marble. The entire structure has no support of any kind from concrete or steel. The monument also has 234 carefully carved pillars, 20,000 murtis (statues) and 9 domes. It also contains statues of the famed sadhus, acharyas and devotees of Hinduism. Among other features the monument also has the Gajendra Pith on its base. It is a plinth that pays homage to the elephant for the importance it carries in Hindu culture and Indian history. ┬áThe structure contains a 148 life size elephants and totally weighs a little less than 3000 tons.

Inside the monument, directly beneath the central dome, is a statue or murti of Swaminarayan. It is 11-foot (or 3.4 m) high. The statue is surrounded by other similar murtis of the various gurus of the sect. Each Murti is made from five metals or paanch dhaatu in accordance to the traditions of Hinduism. Within the primary monument, there lie the statues of various other Hindu deities, such as Sita Ram, Shiv Parvati, Radha Krishna and Lakshmi Narayan.

Location and Address

The complex is located on National Highway 24 near Noida More. Almost all buses from New Delhi to Noida will pass through the area. The complex is also accessible through metro; simply get off at Akshardham Metro Station on the blue line.

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