Delhi is home to many historical legacies, the temple of Akshardham is one of them. The largest Hindu temple complex in the world has been included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The word “Akshardham” literally means the divine abode of God, a place of devotion, purity and peace. The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is dedicated to devotional learning and social harmony.
Built in the traditional manner, the architectural marvel represents the mythological civilization of India. The temple is a humble tribute to Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830), an incarnation of Lord Krishna, a Hindu deity.
Akshardham Temple was built by Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a Hindu denomination within the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. In the construction of this temple, the fifth successor of the spiritual tradition of Lord Swaminarayan “Pramukhaswami Maharaj” played an important role. The temple was dedicated on November 6, 2005, and opened to the general public after two days.
The architecture of the temple was designed in such a way that it could be preserved for the next 1000 years or more. As for the dimensions of the monument, it is 350 feet long, 315 feet wide and 141 feet high. The temple has 234 beautifully decorated and carved pillars and nine beautifully carved domes. Akshardham Temple also has a two-storey building and magnificent 1,152 pillars.
You will be surprised to know that no steel or concrete was used in the construction of this temple. The whole building is made of pure stone and Italian marble. What is surprising is that without steel or concrete, this building has the capacity to last for thousands of years.
Another fascinating aspect of Akshardham Temple is that it is surrounded by 10 gates which represent the 10 directions according to Vedic literature. Moreover, these 10 doors suggest that goodwill continues to come from all directions.
On December 17, 2007, Akshardham Temple ranked in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest complete Hindu temple in the world. Let’s say, there is Yagyapurush Kund in the temple, which is in the biggest pool in the world. It has 108 small shrines and 2,870 steps down to the pool.
Akshardham Temple is surrounded by a lake named Narayan Sarovar. This lake contains the holy water of 151 rivers and lakes including Pushkar Sarovar, Indradyumna Sarovar, Mansarovar, Ganga, Yamuna and many more. Also, along with the lake, there is a group of 108 Gaumukhs representing 108 deities. Also inside Akshardham Temple, there is a food court serving vegetarian food called ‘Premvati Ahargriha’. It was built on the theme of the Ajanta and Ellora Caves of Maharashtra.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Akshardham Temple is Lotus Garden. The garden is built in the form of large stones and lotuses.
The musical fountain here is quite famous. It tells a beautiful story through performances in light and water to win the hearts of the audience. This show takes place in the evening for about 25 minutes.
No less than 3,00,000,000 volunteers were engaged in the construction of the temple. At the same time, it took more than 8,000 volunteers from all over the world to build it. The temple was built with carved sandstone and marble. There are exhibits which are taught about the life of Lord Swaminarayan and things related to prayer, compassion and non-violence.
Everything in Akshardham is linked to spirituality, be it a temple, an exhibition or a garden. There are about 200 idols in Akshardham which have introduced spirituality for millennia. The spiritual foundation of Akshardham is that every soul is divine light. Each service can help to advance towards Divinity. Each prayer is a call to improve yourself and to come closer to God.
A visit to Akshardham is a spiritually enriching experience, whether to feel the power of prayer, to feel the power of non-violence, the ancient principles of Hinduism, or to admire the beauty of God’s dwelling place on earth. Everything here has spiritual significance.
Akshardham Temple remains open every day of the week except Monday. You can visit the temple from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.