Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom an d bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind.
The Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was built in only five years through the blessings of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and the colossal devotional efforts of 11,000 artisans and thousands of BAPS volunteers. Heralded by the Guinness World Record as the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple, the complex was inaugurated on 6 November, 2005.
Architecturally, the mandir is an homage to traditional Indian Hindu architecture. It is designed with an eye to The ancient and middle-agemedieval Indian treatises on architectural science, - the shilpa
shastras, have guided the mandir’s design and construction from its distinctive style of carving and its proportions to its avoidance of . Accordingly, the mandir is made without the use of ferrous metal in construction. The Akshardham mandir consists of 234 intricately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled spires and 20,000 statues of India’s Hinduism’s spiritual personalities. The mandir reaches 141.3 feet into the sky, spans 316 feet in width, and is 356 feet long. Inside the mandir, each worshipfully carved pillar, ceiling and dome shares a story of devotion, offers darshan of a deity, or captures an incident from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
he inner sanctum or garbhagruh of the Akshardham mandir is home to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his divine succession of gurus - Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj, and Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
As manifestations of Aksharbrahma, the gurus, as manifestations of Aksharbrahma, are God’s eternal servants and ideals of saintliness and devotion. They reside in the garbhagruh eternally offering service and worship to Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Items sanctified by Bhagwan Swaminarayan during his time on Earth are also preserved for darshan directly behind the garbhagruh. Around the garbhagruh, special altars are devoted to other Hindu deities of Sanatana Dharma: Shri Sita-Ram, Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Lakshmi-Narayan, and Shri Shiv-Parvati.
The interior of the Akshardham mandir can be divided into nine mandapams or thematic spaces. These nine mandapams are each
filled with intricately carved murtis and pillars and capped by unique domes and
ceilings. Travelling through these mandapams, one meets renowned devotees, great avatars and
rejoicing celestial beings. The ornate designs and intricate carvings of the mandapams inspire reflection of God’s inconceivable beauty and the beauty he inspires in creation.
The external facade of a traditional stone temple is known as a mandovar. Swaminarayan Akshardham's mandovar is the largest, most intricately carved mandovar built in India in the last eight hundred years. It is 25 feet high, 611 feet long and features 200 sculptured stone figures of many of
Hinduism’s great rishis, sadhus, devotees, acharyas and avatars. The base of the mandovar is called the jagati. In this layer, one finds carvings of living beings from our everyday world. First, we have the elephant which is a symbol of strength, then the lion, which symbolizes bravery and ferocity. Thereafter, one finds the vyal (a Pauranic animal) that was renowned for speed. In the subsequent layers, one finds carvings of flowers that stand for beauty and fragrance. In the middle of the mandovar, known as vibhuti, are sculptures of the avatars, sages, devas, acharyas and devotees. And on top within this layer are the samarans that exhort people to strive for spiritual height in life. The entire mandovar inspires an individual to liberate his life from the shackles of mundane pleasures and ascend to the ultimate state of God-realization.
It is an ancient Hindu tradition to perform pradakshinas or circumambulations as a sign of respect and prayers. The faithful walk clockwise around mandirs to reinforce the belief that God should be the center of one’s life.
At the Akshardham mandir, the path for performing these circumambulations is embellished with three 60 feet long bronze relief panels. These panels illustrate divine incidents from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and help the faithful walking these paths to remember God as they perform circumambulations. The layer of the mandir where these panels are installed is known as the Narayan Peeth.
A mandir stands, traditionally and symbolically, on the shoulders of elephants. In a uniquely creative adaptation, the elephants at the base of Swaminarayan Akshardham are not just standing still. The Gajendra Peeth or Elephant Plinth presents stories and legends of elephants with nature, with humans and with God. This depiction of elephants is to honor these grand yet gentle animals and also share messages of peace, beauty and gentleness.
What to Experience
Akshardham Mandir,A traditional mandir (temple) dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan that reflects the beauty and spirituality of India’s ancient art, culture, and architecture
Nilkanth Varni Abhishek
A hallowed spiritual tradition in which prayers are offered for world peace and continual peace for oneself, family, and friends with the water of 151 holy rivers, lakes and ponds of India.
Hall 1 - Hall of Values (50 mins)
Experience enduring human values through films and robotic shows that depict the ideals of nonviolence, honesty, family harmony, and spirituality.
Hall 2 - Giant Screen Film (40 mins)
Discover India through the incredible story of an eleven-year-old yogi named Nilkanth that brings to life the culture and spirituality of India's customs, the majesty of its art and architecture, and the unforgettable sights, sounds, and power of its awe-inspiring festivals.
Hall 3 - Cultural Boat Ride (15 mins)
Sail through 10,000 years of India's glorious heritage. Learn about the discoveries and inventions of the rishi-scientists of India, see the world’s first university of Takshashila, sail through the caves of Ajanta-Ellora and discover India's contributions to humanity through the ages.
Musical Fountain - Circle of Life (Evenings at Sunset - 15 min.)
A spectacular musical fountain show that depicts the cycle of birth, life, and death as described in Indian philosophy.
Garden of India
Sixty acres of lush lawns, gardens and exquisite bronze statues, honouring India's child heroes, valorous warriors, national patriots and great women personalities who inspire values and character.
A lotus-shaped garden echoing spirituality as expressed by philosophers, scientists, and leaders throughout history