Akshardham temple, Gandhinagar-Gujarat is one of the greatest temples in India which is a symbol of cultural and holistic status of India and Gujarat.
Akshardham Temple is situated in the Gandhinagar district of Gujarat India, which stands bounded by Ahmedabad city in the southwest. One of the largest temples of Gujarat, Akshardham is a place where you can find a rare amalgamation of devotion, art, architecture, education, exhibitions and research. The temple has been constructed under the aegis of Bochasanwasi Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) of India, which was and is headed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Architecture of The Temple:
Akshardham Swaminarayan Temple of Gujarat was inaugurated on 2nd November 1992. The inauguration ceremony of the temple coincided with the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj and was conducted by Pramukh Swami Maharaj only. Almost all the tourists coming to Ahmedabad make it a point to visit the Akshardham Temple situated nearby. The temple is a carved stone edifice, which stands surrounded by expansive gardens. Akshardham Temple enshrines a seven-foot high, gold-leafed, idol of Lord Swaminarayan.
Six thousand tonnes of pink sandstone were used in the construction of the monument. Akshardham Temple of Gujarat stands tall at a height of 108 feet and is 240 feet in length and 131 feet in width. The colonnade around the monument measures 1,751 feet (534 meters) in length. The garden surrounding the sanctum sanctorum is known as Sahajanand Van and represents a unique blend of contemplative garden and children’s park. There is a marble sculpture of Lord Swaminarayan inside the garden also.
Sahajanand Van also comprises of a number of cultural spots, rides and games for children, an herbal garden, a lake and a waterfall. Akshardham temple complex also has a research center, known as the Akshardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH). The research center has facilities like an extensive library, study stations and archives, but only enlisted scholars can enter the library and make use of its facilities. The first floor of the temple has a museum, which has a gallery with a collection of over 500 ‘parahansas’.
Other items displayed inside the temple complex include the letter to Swaminarayan’s guru, Ramanand; an art object from an old tree from Chapaya; Swaminarayan’s shawl and an image of the Lord on a horse. The exterior galleries serve as the venue for artistic exhibition and offer Chez Integrovision shows, audio-visuals, multi-media and the works of Lord Swaminarayan from the Hindu epics. There are three permanent exhibition halls inside the complex, set up with the aim of educating people on spiritual matters and BAPS movement.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
How to Reach
By Air : Nearest airport is situated in Ahmedabad which is connected to important places of India. From Ahmedabad airport, you have to hire taxi to Reach Akshardham Temple.
By Rail : Ahmedabad and Gandhi Nagar are two major railway stations which are served by several trains from various parts of the country.
By Bus : State transport and private buses connect Gandhi Nagar with various places of Gujarat and neighbouring states.
Local Transport : Taxis, Autos, Cycle-rickshaws are local modes of transport.