Akshardham Temple, or the Swaminarayan Akshardham complex, in Delhi is a quintessential Hindu shrine epitomizing Indian culture, architecture, and spirituality. The exquisite temple is dedicated to Swaminarayan, an Indian yogi and spiritual soul who existed during the 18th century. Touted as the world’s largest comprehensive Hindu temple by the Guinness World Record, Delhi’s Akshardham is known for its aesthetic beauty, unique exhibitions, sprawling campus, and tranquillity. No wonder, Akshardham counts among the top tourist attractions to explore once you step out of your hotels in Delhi for a sightseeing trip.
Here is everything you should know about Akshardham Temple in Delhi.
Akshardham Temple: Quick Info
|Location||NH 24, Akshardham Setu|
|Also Known as||Swaminarayan Akshardham|
|Timings||9:30 am to 8:00 pm; closed on Mondays|
|Entry closes at 6:30 pm|
|Aarti Timings||10:00 am to 6:00 pm|
|Temple Entry Fee||Free|
|Exhibition Fee||₹220 for adults (12 years and above); ₹170 for senior citizens (60 years and above); ₹120 for children (4 to 11 years); free for children below 4 years|
|Combined ticket for all three exhibitions|
|Exhibition Tickets Timings||10:00 am to 7:00 pm|
|Dedicated to||Bhagwan Swaminarayan|
|Year of Establishment||2005|
|Commissioned by||Pramukh Swami Maharaj|
|Constructed by||Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS)|
|Material Used||Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble|
|Architectural style||Based on the principles of Maharishi Vastu Architecture and influenced by ancient architectural styles from across India|
|Mobiles and Electronics||Not allowed|
|Nearest Metro Station||Akshardham Metro Station|
|Dress Code||Upper wear that covers your upper arms, chest, naval, and shoulders and below knee-length bottoms|
Akshardham Temple, Delhi: History
Swaminarayan Akshardham came into existence as a result of Shri Yogiji Maharaj’s wish to build a temple complex in Delhi. He conceived this idea around 1968 when he was serving as the spiritual head of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, better known as BAPS. However, it was his successor and fifth spiritual guru in line after Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Pramukh Swami Maharaj who started the construction of the temple.
About 60 acres of land was granted by the Delhi Development Authority and 30 acres by the Uttar Pradesh Government for the erection of this temple. The construction started in 2000 and was completed within five years. Standing on the banks of River Yamuna, Akshardham Temple was opened to the public on 6th November 2005. The temple was inaugurated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in the presence of eminent personalities such as Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, L.K. Advani, B.L. Joshi, and Dr. Manmohan Singh – the then Prime Minister of India.
One of the biggest temples in Delhi as well as in India, this spiritual place was constructed by BAPS. More than 8000 volunteers participated and 300,000,000 volunteer hours were spent in the construction of this temple.
Akshardham Temple, Delhi: Architecture
Akshardham Temple, Delhi is a celebration of classic Hindu architectural styles that were prevalent in various parts of India during the ancient and medieval times. Standing in the center of this complex is the main temple that was built on the principles of Pancharatra Shastra and Vastu Shastra. Called the Akshardham Mandir, this main shrine is 141 feet in height, 316 feet in width, and 356 feet in length.
With more than 234 exquisitely carved pillars, 20 quadrangle spires, 9 elaborate domes, and 20,000 sculptures of spiritual personalities from India, the temple embodies India’s culture and spiritual richness. Carved motifs and images of deities, flowers, dancers, and musicians adorn the walls and ceilings of this temple.
Each part of the Akshardham Temple complex is a work of intricate art that exhibits flawless craftsmanship. The temple has been constructed using Italian Carrara marble and Rajasthani pink sandstone. It is surrounded by open gardens, a courtyard built in stepwell style, various water bodies, and other structures.
Akshardham Temple, Delhi: Today
Today, the Akshardham Temple complex is one of the top tourist places in Delhi. It draws visitors from all parts of India and beyond due to its exceptional beauty and colossal size. The temple complex is arguably the largest one to be built in India in the last 800 years. In 2007, the temple was awarded the title of the Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple in the World by the Guinness World Record.
Things to See in the Akshardham Temple Complex, Delhi
There are several attractions that are worth visiting inside the Akshardham Temple complex in Delhi. These include:
- Elaborate welcome gates
- Akshardham Mandir, the main temple dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan
- Abhishek Mandap
- Three exhibitions namely Sahajanand Darshan, Neelkanth Darshan, and Sanskruti Darshan
- The Garden of India, sprawling 60 acres of thematic gardens adorned with bronze statues representing heroes, warriors, and great personalities from India
- Yogi Hraday Kamal aka the Lotus Garden where you can see stones engraved with thoughts expressed by leaders, scientists, and philosophers from across the world
- Narayan Sarovar, a water body that contains the waters of 151 holy rivers and lakes from across India
- Musical Fountain or Water Show
- Premvati Ahargruh, the vegetarian food court inside the complex
- Akshardham Books and Gifts Center, the souvenir shop inside the complex
Exhibitions at Akshardham Temple, Delhi
There are three unique exhibitions at the Akshardham Temple, each of which is educational, informative, and inspirational. Displayed in three large halls, these exhibitions are a blend of art, culture, and latest technologies.
Here’s a rundown of the exhibitions at Akshardham Temple, Delhi:
1. Sahajanand Darshan (Exhibition Hall 1)
It is the Hall of Values, where different values like perseverance, non-violence, morality, etc. are exhibited through animatronic figures and multimedia technology. Latest techniques like 3D dioramas and immersive projections are also used to convey the timeless values of Hindu culture.
- Duration: 1 hour
- Languages: Hindi and English (separate shows)
2. Neelkanth Darshan (Exhibition Hall 2)
This is a giant-screen theatre where the spiritual and cultural beauty of the country is shown through a 40-minute film titled Neelkanth Yatra. The film traces the story of the pilgrimage undertaken by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in his teenage years.
- Duration: 45 minutes
- Language*: Hindi
*You can avail headphones for English commentary
3. Sanskruti Darshan (Exhibition Hall 3)
At this exhibition hall, visitors board a boat and sail through 10,000 years of India’s splendid heritage. During the ride, you pass through exhibits that recount some of India’s greatest contributions. For instance, there are exhibits that show a Vedic marketplace, a classroom in Takshashila University, etc. to mention a few.
- Duration: 15 minutes
- Language*: Hindi
*English commentary is available on request
Musical Fountain or Water Show at Akshardham Temple, Delhi
One of the main attractions of the Akshardham Temple in Delhi is the one-of-its-kind multimedia water show named Sahaj Anand. The breathtaking show narrates an episode from the Kena Upanishad through video projections, colored lasers, water jets, underwater flames, and surround-sound.
- Duration: 24 mins
- Language: Hindi
- Timings*: Starts at 7:45 pm
*The first show is held after sunset. Multiple shows are often held during public holidays and weekends
- Ticket Prices: ₹80 for adults; ₹50 for children (4 to 11 years); free for children below 4 years
Lesser Known Facts about Akshardham Temple, Delhi
- The name Akshardham is derived from two words – Akshar meaning eternal and Dham meaning abode. So, Akshardham means the abode of the eternal one.
- There are ten welcome gates in this temple complex.
- No concrete or steel was used in the construction of the temple to maximize the structure’s lifespan.
- The Yagnapurush Kund inside the temple is the largest one of its kind in the world.
- More than 11,000 artisans worked to design this temple.
- Premvati Ahargruh, the food court inside the temple, is designed on the theme of Ajanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra.
Attractions near Akshardham Temple, Delhi
- Sanjay Park (4 km)
- Millennium Park (6.7 km)
- Red Fort (7.2 km)
- India Gate (7.9 km)
- Shri Balaji Mandir (10.3 km)
Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi is not just a temple; it’s a journey into the heart of ancient India. So, keep aside a day in your itinerary to explore this prime attraction in the national capital. You will enjoy every minute spent here!