Swaminarayan Temple, Ahmedabad

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Timings : 5:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Entry Fee : Free

Swaminarayan Temple, Ahmedabad Overview

Located in the Kalupur area of Ahmedabad, Shri Swaminarayan Temple (also known as Akshardham Temple) is a shrine dedicated to Narayan Dev. This splendid temple was built in the year 1822 on the instructions of Swaminarayan, who was the founder of the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. Embellished with vivid colours and intricate carvings, Swaminarayan temple is a marvellous example of the architecture of the nineteenth century. Inside the sanctum, the deities are decorated with ostentatious ornamentations and beautiful fabrics. The temple attracts a million people on the day after Diwali for darshan.

The main complex of the temple is spread over a vast area making the spectacle of the temple a marvellous sight to behold. This temple is also the headquarter of the Nar Narayan Gadi, which makes it an even more revered temple among believers. Beautifully carved out of Burma Teak wood, the intricate detailing in the carvings of this temple makes it an engineering masterpiece. The personal artefacts of Swami Narayan are also preserved for safe keeping here. The temple is also quite well known for its morning 'Aarti' or prayer service, which is a mesmerising invocation to the divine. The temple complex also has a multi-storey guesthouse and a medical clinic within its compound for the convenience of the visitors. Reflecting the many colours of spirituality, the Swami Narayan Temple is an unadulterated experience of the divine.

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History of the Akshardham Temple Ahmedabad

The land for the construction of the temple was commissioned to Swaminarayan by the British Imperial Government, following which Swamiji personally transferred the responsibility of the temple to Ananandanand Swami. The construction of the temple was completed on February 24, 1822, and the sculptures of the Lord were installed in the sanctum in the presence of about 50,000 pilgrims from all over the country. The temple found an unlikely admirer in Sir Dunlop, a British officer who then allocated an area of 5,000 acres in Kalupur of Ahmedabad to the temple authority. Upon the completion of the temple, Sir Dunlop commanded a 101 gun salute in honour of the edifice. The temple was always a big part of the development of the community, and when the British wanted to build a railway station in Kalupur, the temple returned part of the land allocated to them. Subsequently, they were compensated by the government in the form of another 1,000 acres of land in Narayan Nagar village situated nearby.

Architecture of the Temple

The architecture of the temple is a fine example of detailed and artistic handiwork. As you enter the temple, you will encounter the central gateway which is a sublime amalgam of local, Marathi, Rajasthani and British style of design. The gateway bears sculptors carved with the folk costumes and culture of the locals, while the columns of the temple depict a Corinthian design. The top of the pavilion has some reflections of Mughal architecture as well. 

The main sanctum of the Narayan Temple has delicate carvings depicting the life of the Lord and many other auspicious symbologies pertaining to the divine. In the centre is the sculpture of Narnarayan Dev flanked by Radhakrishna Dev on the right, Dharmadev, Bhakti Mata and Harikrishna on the left. In addition to these deities, the idol of Ghanshyam Maharaj in the form of a child is also present in the temple's Rang Mahol. 

Towards the west of the temple's main complex lies the former official residence of Acharya of the Narnarayan Dev Gadi. Now, the ground floor has been converted into a temple for Samkhya Yogi women who have taken a vow and celibacy and dedicated their lives to the service of the temple. An idol of Ghanshyam Maharaj has been installed in this temple and is served by the Sankhya Yogis. The mansion itself is adorned with scintillating chandeliers, suspended lamps and mirrors carvings of various geometrical patterns make an appearance in the architecture.

Best Time To Visit Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

Best time to visit the temple are the morning hours around 8:00 AM when you can witness the morning prayer services.

Stay Near Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

The temple provides A.C. guest rooms for its visitors. In addition to these, you can also stay at the Star Hotel, Excel Hotel, Hotel Dimple International, Sabar Inn Hotel and many others that are situated nearby.

Activities At Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

In addition to providing a spiritual getaway and prayer services, you can also take part in the Heritage walk that is conducted here. The temple is located in an area where the majority is Muslim population and this heritage walk is a part of the goodwill that exists between the two communities. The Walk was started on 19 November 1997 by the local municipal corporation in association with the Foundation for Conservation and Research of Urban Traditional Architecture (CRUTA). It begins from the Swaminarayan Temple in Kalupur and ends at the Jama Masjid whilst covering 18 other sites. The path of the walk is spread over one and a half kilometres and takes 3 hours to complete.

Tips For Visiting Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

1. Since this is a religious place, dress in a conservative manner
2. Tobacco and liquor are strictly prohibited
3. Take off your footwear at the entrance of the temple
4. Since the temple can get crowded, take special care of your belongings

How To Reach Swaminarayan Temple, Ahmedabad

The Swami Narayan Temple is located in near the eastern part of the Old City and can be reached by the means of auto rickshaws, buses and taxis. 

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