Akshardham Temple

3.7 / 5 56 votes


Weather:

Time Required: 3 - 4 hours

Timings:

09:30 AM - 07:30 PM (Closed on Mondays)

Entry Fee:

Free
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Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar Overview

The Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar city is one of the biggest temples in India, and it is a major pilgrim destination that many people swarm to. This temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan and was built by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the same organisation as the one in Delhi. Located in the capital of Gujarat, the complex took over 13 years to build and was inaugurated on October 30th, 1992. Akshardham mandir is situated in the centre of the 23-acre complex, which is built from 6,000 metric tonnes of pink sandstone from Rajasthan.

Akshardham acts as a cultural centre and is a melting pot that can enthral tourists from around the country. The temple seeks to spread the teachings and philosophies of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and is a centre of devotion, education and unification of the society as a whole. The temple consists of one huge monument and a surrounding garden that families use as a picnic spot as well. Recently, they put up the first-of-its-kind laser water show in the world, which is a must see. Facilities of wheelchairs, baggage, lost and found, parking, etc. are also available.

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The principal complex is the Akshardham Mandir, which is 108 feet high, 131 feet wide and 240 feet long is a magnificent sight to behold. The temple is held in place by 97 intricately carved pillars and is embellished with 17 ornamental domes. In addition to these, eight balconies, 220 stone beams and 264 sculpted figures also find a place here.

Skilled artisans with an expertise in stonework yielded immaculate efforts to create the final look of this temple which can very well be seen in its intricate designs and chiselled artwork. Akshardham Temple is built in accordance with Vedic architectural principles, hence no steel or iron has been used anywhere in the temple. The temple's central chamber houses a seven-foot-tall sacred image of Swaminarayan, who is worshipped by followers as God.

One of the most popular attractions in the temple is the Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show, which is an illustrative narration of Nachiketa's story as told in the Kathopanishad. It is a fascinating enactment of the same by the use of fire, fountain, animations, laser, water screen projections, music and live performers. The show is a melodious amalgam of technology and the elements used harmoniously to relate the parable of the Gods.

As the legend goes, Nachiketa was the son of Saint Udalak, who performed a yajna and deceptively gifted sickly cattle to the brahmins involved in the prayer services. Learning of his father's trickery, Nachiketa was deeply disturbed and proffered that he himself may be offered to the brahmins in alms. Angered by the proposition, Udalak banished Nachiketa to Yamapuri, the underworld.

In keeping with the same, Nachiketa waited at Yamraj's door for three days waiting for his arrival. Yamraj was impressed by Nachiketa's perseverance and offered his three boons. Nachiketa requested that firstly, his father may welcome him lovingly upon his return home, secondly, he be granted the knowledge by which he can be worthy of living in the heavens and lastly, he may attain knowledge of the eternal soul, the Atma, which transcends death.

Akshardham Temple regularly hosts a number exhibitions that propagate art, science, culture and spirituality. The complex has five exhibition halls which use audio-visual presentations and life-sized themes to discover various matters in Hinduism. One of the hall features an IMAX theatre which screens a 40-minute film depicting the country-spanning pilgrimage Swaminarayan had boarded on at the age of eleven when he took the name, Neelkanth Varni. Other exhibitions held here include Neelkanth and Sahajanand – Halls of Values, Mystic India which is a film representation of India and Premanand which is a display of core Hindu values.

The Akshardham temple of Gandhinagar sits amidst an expansive 15 - acre garden known as the Sahajanand Van, which has a number of attractions such as including rock arrangements, fountains, a waterfall, and an 18,000 square feet plant nursery within its premises. In addition to these, the garden has six designated 'Wisdom Spots' which are representations of incidents and teachings of Hinduism.

The first spot has a marble statue of Swaminarayan on his favourite mare, Manki, while the second one has a sculpture of Vishnu seated on the coils of Sheshanag with Goddess Laxmi seated right beside him. The third spot is the Surya Rath, which depicts the Sun Chariot being drawn by seven stallions, the fourth spot is an illustration of Samudra Manthan which is a wondrous sculpture depicting a whirling of the sea through a joint effort between the demigods and demons, in the search for immortalizing nectar or Amrit. The fifth spot shows the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati and lastly, the sixth spot is Lake Narayan Sarovar. which has a 20-foot fountain at its centre.

Sahajanand Van also doubles up as an open air assembly ground and has a seating capacity of 9,000 and is often used as the venue for cultural programs and festivals. Also within Sahajanand Van is a vegetarian restaurant titled, Premvati, serving Indian cuisine with regional choices.

AARSH or Akshardham Centre for Applied Research in Social Harmony is a unique initiative by the Akshardham authorities which focuses on Swaminarayan's principles in solving social problems. Scholars regularly hold debates and discussions on the application of religious teachings so as to create a harmonious balance in society. AARSH campus includes a library which boasts of more than 7,000 writings in Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati and Tamil as well as a large collection of rare manuscripts discussing the schools of philosophy in Hinduism. In addition to this, AARSH also hosts academic conferences that seek to discuss the matter more deeply. Past events include Sanskrit Scholars’ Conference, the Sanskrit Journalists’ Conference, the Saints Poets Conference and the National Conference on Vaidikatva.

1. Photography and Videography are strictly prohibited inside the temple premises. 
2. Visitors are not allowed to carry food inside the premises.
3. Bags, luggage, mobile phone, radio and other electronic items are also prohibited inside the temple.
4. Smoking and chewing tobacco are also not allowed.

Akshardham is accessible from every direction since it sits in the heart of Gandhinagar. It is located around 2 km away from the Gandhinagar railway station. CNG auto rickshaws are easily available from all parts of the city. Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation provide buses that ply regularly to the Akshardham temple. 

Top Hotels near Akshardham Temple

  • Fortune Inn Haveli - Member ITC Hotel Group, Gandhinagar

    Starting from INR 3,959

  • 7Wonders Hotel Gandhinagar

    Starting from INR 2,500

  • OYO 11072 Hotel Kajri Residency

    Starting from INR 5,144

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Latest questions by travellers on Akshardham Temple

How long does it take to tour the temple? Before going for the Water Show.

Answer: It would take about 2 hours to explore the Akshardham Temple in its entirety and then head to the Sat-chit-ananda water show.

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