A guest post from a good friend who recently visited Akshardham
In my other business, Interim Business Solutions, I am fortunate to have a lovely helper from Mumbai, India. Lata has been a wonderful helping hand since March 2013 and we have become good friends – virtually! She was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Akshardham and a number of other wonderful travel destinations which of course made me green with envy. She has been kind enough to share her experience with us.
It was a “maybe” trip on our list of places to visit due to the short time we had in Delhi…but then later became ”THE highlight” of our Delhi visit! It was an one of a kind experience. It’s very difficult to encompass all that we saw and felt in mere words… and more so because it’s all captured within our mind and heart literally as there are no pictures to fall back on (photography strictly forbidden).
Akshardham Temple in Delhi, is a brilliant example of the modern day architecture having its roots, rooted deep in the past. It is one of the modern monumental wonders of India, a specimen of rich Indian architecture much famous for its minute carvings and magnificent sculptures. It has been heralded by the Guinness World Record as the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple.
Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the haunt of eternal values and virtues of ‘Akshar’ as defined in the Hindu texts where a heart of devotion, purity and peace forever perches.
As soon as we entered the temple premise, we were overwhelmed to see immense beauty sprawled all around us in exquisitely carved pillars, ornate domes, quadrangle shikhars, reincarnated in a pink and white attire. (The pink stone symbolizes bhakti in eternal bloom and white marble that of absolute purity and eternal peace).
When we entered the ‘Mandir’ (temple), standing with its head held high at 141 ft. to reach the sanctum sanctorum, it took us time to appreciate the impressive pillars, hauling the colossal alcove on their shoulders. They are beautiful. We could see the consummate artistry – flora, fauna, dancers, musicians and Gods – crafted on their surfaces from top to bottom! They are just awe inspiring! The Garbhagriha (Inner Sanctum) reminds one of the Gothic architecture, standing like a silent spectator of divine divinity, where one can even hear one’s heart beat!
There is much more to the place than just the temple…
The Akshardham parikrama (circumambulatory path) consists of 1,152 pillars, 145 windows and 154 samvaran shikhars; amounting to a total of 53,956 stones.
The Swaminarayan Akshardham parikrama is made of red stone from Rajasthan, consisting of 1,152 pillars, 145 windows and 154 carved spires; amounting to a total of 53,956 stones. Surrounding the temple like a beautiful decorative garland, every window and gallery in the lower parikrama provides different views and insights to the amazing Akshardham monument.
In the last 800 years this is the only and largest, intricately carved Mandovar in India, embellished with sculptured stone effigies of India’s great rishis, sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine incarnations. Walk around the temple premises to reach the tranquil Narayan Sarovar. In the evenings, the lake glitters like a sparkling diamond amidst floating lotus leaves . It is said that the lake contains holy waters from 151 rivers and lakes sanctified by Bhagwan Swaminarayan, including Mansarovar in Tibet.
There are three Halls that one can visit to experience the journey of the temple…
1: Sahajanand Darshan (Hall of Values) Universal values for mankind are presented from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan through films, light and sound shows with robotic figures. Everything here appeared so real, mainly in the robotic dramatizations.
2: Neelkanth Darshan (Giant Screen Theatre) Projected on an 85 ft x 65 ft screen, a large format film vividly portrays the true story of an 11-year-old child-yogi, Neelkanth Varni (The young Bhagwan Swaminarayan). With a cast of over 45,000 people and shot in 108 locations in India, the film takes the viewers on an exciting pilgrimage of India.
3: Sanskruti Vihar (Boat Ride) A spectacular boat ride through 10,000 years of Indian culture, which flourished on the banks of river Sarasvati. We sailed through the world’s oldest Vedic village and bazaar, through Takshashila- the world’s first university, the caves of Ajanta, and much, much more.
The huge Premvati Food Court serves fresh, pure vegetarian food, snacks and drinks.
Also the evening light and laser show are a must watch.
The Akshardham temple is quite serious about security, so if you plan to visit, do note that the only things you are allowed to carry inside other than the clothes you are wearing (cap/shawl/sweater, reading glasses, sun glasses/shoes are all ok – knees need to be covered) are your wallet (not purse) and house/vehicle keys. No food items, no mobile phones, no flowers, candles etc. Leave all these behind in your vehicle/hotel and you will be able to avoid the queue to deposit and retrieve non-permitted items at the cloakroom.
We were overwhelmed by the grandeur of the place. After our senses could absorb as much as humanly possible…we sat and let the beauty and serenity sink in…reluctant to let the real world intrude the feeling of calm and harmony within us!!
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TravelTipsPlus Google Map of Akshardham
One Great Reason to Visit Akshardham
One great reason to visit this travel destination is to experience the exquisite poetry carved in stone, it’s awe inspiring architectural geniuses and to experience supreme peace (sorry that makes it 3 reasons but it HAD to be mentioned!)
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