An epitome of Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture, Akshardham Temple is a famous Hindu temple and a spiritual-cultural complex. Also known as Swaminarayan Akshardham, it is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan. Akshardham has made its way to the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple.
Akshardham complex is home to India’s largest step well which is a host to the mesmerising water show; an open garden, Narayan Sarovar, various expeditions, and rituals. The complex is not less than a paradise for spiritual seekers.
Tips for Visiting Akshardham Temple
- Mobile phones, cameras, headphones, etc. are not allowed. There is a cloakroom to keep the items but it takes 30 minutes-1 hour for the process as it requires filling up a form and clicking a picture with the item.
- Avoid going on Sundays to avoid the crowd
- Monday is the day when most of the archaeological sites are shut. So make sure you don’t plan to visit Akshardham on a monday
- Wear clothes that cover your shoulder, neck, navel and legs.
- Don’t carry any bag with you. Only small ladies purses are allowed after multiple levels of security screenings.
- Carry a pen to fill-up the form for cloakroom
- Try not to miss the fountain show in the evening
- Outside food is not allowed but vegetarian food is available inside the temple premises
Things to See at Swaminarayan Akshardham
These presentations 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. Be a spectator of a thousand years old eye surgery method, Vedic marketplace, ancient yoga, the invention of chess, the life of Swaminarayan and much more!
2. Sahajanand Darshan – The Hall of Values
As the name suggests, at The Hall of Values, visitors leave the room taking with them the in-depth knowledge of values like perseverance, non-violence, family harmony, prayers, and morality. The timeless messages of Hindu culture are presented using different techniques of audio-animatronic figures, immersive projections, and 3-D dioramas. Furthermore, the hall features the world’s smallest animatronic robot in the form of Ghanshyam Maharaj, the child form of Swaminarayan
Duration: 1 hour
Languages: Seperate shows in Hindi and English
3. Neelkanth Darshan – Giant Screen Film
Follow the footsteps of youthful Bhagwan Swaminarayan on his journey to the great Indian subcontinent in the epic film screened in a unique giant theatre. Grab the chance of exploring the gorges of Himalayas, witnessing the Rameshwaram mandir and trekking through the forests of Assam while being at this particular place.
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: Hindi. Headphones available for English
4. Sanskruti Darshan – Cultural Boat Ride
It features contributions of Vedic Indians like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Kalidasa, Chanakya and much more. Next, it shows Takshashila, the world’s first university incorporating lessons of horse riding and warfare. From Vedic times it moves slowly to the Middle ages showcasing the renowned figures such as Kabir, Meera, Ramananda. Finally, it ends with the contributors of recent times, namely, Swami Vivekananda, Jagadish Chandra Bose, C. V. Raman, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and Satyendra Nath Bose.
Duration: 15 minutes
Language: Hindi. Headphones available for English
5. Musical Fountain – The Water Show (Sahaj Anand Show)
Reflecting the story from one of the treasures of Knowledge of the Vedic era, Kena Upanishad, Sahaj Anand Water Show is an experience in itself. The Kund is India’s largest step well comprising of 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. Following this in the centre is a 27 feet high statue of Neelkanth Varni showcasing the values of determination, courage, and devotion. The nine lotus design of the pool is a replica of a ritual yantra used in Hindu ceremonies.
Running Time: 24 minutes
Timings: Currently, it starts at 7:30 PM. The first show starts after the sunset. Multiple shows during the weekends and public holidays.
Ticket: INR 80 for adults; INR 50 for children (4 to 11 years); free for children below 4 years
6. Narayan Sarovar
Following this sacred tradition of giving rivers like Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati religious importance, Narayan Sarovar has been built surrounding the central Akshardham Mandir. The Sarovar comprises of the waters of 151 holy rivers and lakes.
7. Garden of India – The Bharat Upavan
With greenery resides, the sculptures of prominent personalities of Indian culture and history. These include the statues of freedom fighters, children, women, and other national figures.
8. Food court – Premvati Ahargruh
Vegetarian food court based on the theme of Ajanta and Ellora
9. Lotus Garden or Yogi Hraday Kamal
Stones in this garden are engraved with thoughts of scientists, leaders and philosophers from around the world.
Facts about Akshardham Temple
Akshardham Mandir Features & Architecture
A blend of several ancient styles of Indian architecture has been used to build the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir. The principles of Maharishi Vastu Architecture are followed carefully in its construction. The builders of this beautiful temple have abided by the norms Shilpa Shastras and hence have made no use of steel and concrete to maximise the lifespan of this great architectural piece. Akshardham is entirely a temple built of Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble.
It has nine domes with 20,000 murtis of different deities, acharyas, and sadhus.
Under the temple’s central dome is the 11-foot high statue of Swaminarayan seated in Abhayamudra. Surrounding him are the figures of the divine succession of Gurus. As manifestations of Aksharbrahma, the gurus are God’s eternal servants, symbolising devotion and saintliness. Garbhagruh behind itself offers the items sanctified by Lord Swaminarayan during his premises on Earth for direct darshan. The temple also has the murtis of Mythological duos, Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, and Lakshmi Narayan.
The mandir is the largest temple to be built in the last eight hundred years. The Mandovar is 25 feet high and 611 mt long. It has two hundred and thirty ostentatiously carved pillars. The top of the Mandovar has samarans that teach people to live a spiritual life away from the mundane pleasures. Vibhuti, the middle of the Mandovar has sculptures of the sages, avatars, devas, acharyas and devotees. Jagati, the base of Mandovar has living beings as its speciality. Elephant here signifies strength with lion and vyal symbolising bravery and speed respectively.
It is a tribute to the elephants for their importance in Indian history and Hindu culture. The Gajendra Pith contains 148 life sized elephants weighing 3000 tons in real. These elephants share the message of peace, beauty and gentleness.
The 60 feet long bronze relief panels serve the purpose of doing Parikrama around the central figure of God. The panels have illustrations from the life of Swaminarayan.