Swaminarayan Akshardham (New Delhi) is a Hindu temple, and spiritual-cultural campus in New Delhi, India. The temple is close to the border with Noida. Also referred to as Akshardham Temple or Akshardham Delhi, the complex displays millennia of traditional and modern Hindu culture, spirituality, and architecture. Inspired by Yogiji Maharaj and created by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, it was constructed by BAPS.
The temple was officially opened on 6 November 2005 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the presence of Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh, L.K Advani and B.L Joshi. The temple, at the centre of the complex, was built according to the Vastu shastra and Pancharatra shastra.
In Swaminarayan Akshardham New Delhi, similar to its predecessor Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, the main shrine is the focal point and maintains the central position of the entire complex. There are various exhibition halls which provide information about the life and work of Swaminarayan. The designers of the complex have adopted contemporary modes of communication and technology to create the various exhibition halls.
The complex features an abhishek mandap, Sahaj Anand water show, a thematic garden, and three exhibitions namely Sahajanand Darshan (Hall of Values), Neelkanth Darshan (an IMAX film on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, Neelkanth), and Sanskruti Darshan (cultural boat ride). According to Swaminarayan Hinduism, the word Akshardham means the abode of Swaminarayan and believed by followers as a temporal home of God on earth.
The main attraction of the Swaminarayan Akshardham complex is the Akshardham Mandir. It rises 141-foot (43 m) high, spans 316-foot (96 m) wide, and extends 356-foot (109 m) long. It is intricately carved with flora, fauna, dancers, musicians, and deities.
The Akshardham Mandir was designed by BAPS Swamis and Virendra Trivedi, a member of the Sompura family. It is entirely constructed from Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. Based on traditional Hindu architectural guidelines (Shilpa shastras) on maximum temple life span, it makes no use of ferrous metal. Thus, it has no support from steel or concrete.
The mandir also consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, nine domes, and 20,000 murtis of swamis, devotees, and acharyas. The mandir also features the Gajendra Pith at its base, a plinth paying tribute to the elephant for its importance in Hindu culture and India's history. It contains 148 life sized elephants in total weighing a total of 3000 tons.
Under the temple's central dome lies the 11-foot (3.4m) high murti of Swaminarayan seated in abhayamudra to whom the temple is dedicated. Swaminarayan is surrounded by images of the faith's lineage of Gurus depicted either in a devotional posture or in a posture of service. Each murti is made of paanch dhaatu or five metals in accordance to Hindu tradition. The temple also houses the murtis of Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, and Lakshmi Narayan.
Sahajanand Darshan [Hall of Values]
The Hall of Values features life-like robotics and dioramas which display incidents from Swaminarayan's life, portraying his message about the importance of peace, harmony, humility, service to others and devotion to God. Set in 18th century India, the audience experiences eternal messages gleaned from ancient Hindu culture such as non?violence, vegetarianism, perseverance, prayers, morality, and family harmony through 15 3-dimensional dioramas which make use of state of the art robotics, fibre optics, light and sound effects, dialogues, and music. The hall also features the world's smallest animatronic robot in the form of Ghanshyam Maharaj, the child form of Swaminarayan.
Nilkanth Darshan [Theatre]
The theatre houses Delhi's first and only large format screen, measuring 85-foot (26 m) by 65-foot (20 m). The theatre shows a 40-minute film specially commissioned for the complex, Neelkanth Yatra, to recount a seven-year pilgrimage made by Swaminarayan made during his teenage years throughout India. Mystic India, an international version of the film produced by BAPS Charities, was released in 2005 at IMAX theatres and giant screen cinemas worldwide. A 27-foot (8.2 m) tall bronze murti of Neelkanth Varni is located outside the theatre.
Sanskruti Vihar [Boat Ride]
The Boat Ride is a 12-minute journey through 10,000 years glorious heritage, using life size figures and robotics to depict life in Vedic India, from family life to bazaars and teaching. It also shows the contributions of Vedic Indians to various fields such as science, astronomy, arts, literature, yoga, mathematics, etc. by eminent persons like mathematician-astronomers Aryabhata and Brahmagupta, grammarian P??ini, contributors to the ancient art and science of Ayurveda like Sushruta and Charaka, Classical Sanskrit writer K?lid?sa, philosopher, economist and royal advisor Chanakya, among others. It shows the world's first university, Takshashila and the subjects taught there such as horse riding and warfare. It moves on to the Middle Ages to Sufi saints like Kabir and saints from the Bhakti movement such as Meera and Ramananda and then to recent times highlighting the contributions of modern Indian mathematicians such as Jagadish Chandra Bose, Srinivasa Ramanujan, C. V. Raman and Satyendra Nath Bose and philosophers like Swami Vivekananda.
Musical fountain, also known as the Yagnapurush Kund, is India's largest step well. It features a very large series of steps down to a traditional 'yagna kund'. During the day, these steps provide rest for the visitors to the complex and at night, a musical fountain show named Sahaj Anand - Multi-Media Water Show is shown. Sahaj Anand Water Show is a breathtaking 24-minute presentation which unites a variety of intriguing media to bring to life a story from the Kena Upanishad. Multi-color lasers, video projections, underwater flames, water jets and surround sound in symphony with lights and live actors produce a captivating and inspiring presentation. International experts contributed their expertise with BAPS volunteers and swamis to produce this one-of-a-kind presentation. The fountain is named after the founder of the Hindu organization BAPS, Shastriji Maharaj. The fountain measures 300 feet (91 m) by 300 feet (91 m) with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its centre lies an eight-petaled lotus-shaped yagna kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Pancharatra shastra.
Garden of India
Also known as the Bharat Upavan, this garden has lush manicured lawns, trees, and shrubs. The garden is lined with bronze sculptures of contributors to India's culture and history. These sculptures include children, women, national figures, freedom fighters, and warriors of India, including notable figures such as Mahatma Gandhi.
The complex is accessible by Delhi Metro. The Akshardham Metro Station is proximate to the complex.
Closed on Monday
Darshan: 5PM to 6.30PM (Due to COVID, timing has been changed)
Arti: Around 6PM
In Normal Situation
Darshan: 09:30 Am to 08:00 Pm
Aarti: 10:00 Am or 06:00 Pm
Yogi Hraday Kamal
A sunken gardinene, shaped like a lotus when viewed from above, features large stones engraved with quotes from world luminaries ranging from Shakespeare and Martin Luther King Jr. to Swami Vivekananda and Swaminarayan.
Devotees offer abhishek, a ritual of pouring water on to the murti of Nilkanth Varni, and express their reverence and prayers for spiritual upliftment and fulfilment of wishes.
The Narayan Sarovar is a lake that surrounds the main monument. The lake contains holy waters from 151 rivers and lakes that are believed to have been sanctified by Swaminarayan, including Mansarovar. Surrounding the Narayan Sarovar are 108 gaumukhs, symbolising Janmangal Namavali or the 108 names for god, from which holy water issues forth.
The Premvati Ahargruh/the Premvati Food Court is a vegetarian restaurant modelled on the Ajanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra, India and an Ayurvedic bazaar. The restaurant caters a variety of traditional dishes.
The Akshardham Centre for Applied Research in Social Harmony or the AARSH Centre is a centre within the complex that applies research of social harmony and related topics. Scholars and students may conduct practical research through AARSH. Researchers have the ability to carry out their research projects and affiliate their papers with AARSH. Studies on education, medicare, tribal and rural welfare, ecology, and culture are conducted within the centre.
How To Reach:
By Road: Basically, there are many public and private vehicles available to reach this Temple situated at Pandav Nagar, Delhi.
By Rail: The Nearest Railway station is Delhi Railway station.
By Air: The Nearest Airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi.