Location: Gandhinagar, near Ahmedabad (Gujarat)
Founded By: Bochasanwasi Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha
Inaugurated On: 2nd November 1992
Dedicated To: Lord Swaminarayan
Akshardham Temple is situated in the Gandhinagar district of Gujarat,
which stands bounded by Ahmedabad city in the southwest. One of the
largest temples of Gujarat, Akshardham is a place where you can find a
rare amalgamation of devotion, art, architecture, education, exhibitions
and research. The temple has been constructed under the aegis of
Bochasanwasi Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) of India,
which was and is headed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Akshardham Swaminarayan Temple of Gujarat was inaugurated on 2nd
November 1992. The inauguration ceremony of the temple coincided with
the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj and was conducted by
Pramukh Swami Maharaj only. Almost all the tourists coming to Ahmedabad
make it a point to visit the Akshardham Temple situated nearby. The
temple is a carved stone edifice, which stands surrounded by expansive
gardens. Akshardham Temple enshrines a seven-foot high, gold-leafed,
idol of Lord Swaminarayan.
Six thousand tonnes of pink sandstone were used in the construction of
the monument. Akshardham Temple of Gujarat stands tall at a height of
108 feet and is 240 feet in length and 131 feet in width. The colonnade
around the monument measures 1,751 feet (534 meters) in length. The
garden surrounding the sanctum sanctorum is known as Sahajanand Van and
represents a unique blend of contemplative garden and children's park.
There is a marble sculpture of Lord Swaminarayan inside the garden also.
Sahajanand Van also comprises of a number of cultural spots, rides and
games for children, an herbal garden, a lake and a waterfall. Akshardham
temple complex also has a research center, known as the Akshardham
Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH). The research
center has facilities like an extensive library, study stations and
archives, but only enlisted scholars can enter the library and make use
of its facilities. The first floor of the temple has a museum, which has
a gallery with a collection of over 500 'parahansas'.
Other items displayed inside the temple complex include the letter to
Swaminarayan's guru, Ramanand; an art object from an old tree from
Chapaya; Swaminarayan's shawl and an image of the Lord on a horse. The
exterior galleries serve as the venue for artistic exhibition and offer
Chez Integrovision shows, audio-visuals, multi-media and the works of
Lord Swaminarayan from the Hindu epics. There are three permanent
exhibition halls inside the complex, set up with the aim of educating
people on spiritual matters and BAPS movement.
Hall 1 (Sahajanand)
The Sahajanand exhibition is organized in Hall number one and uses
imaginative settings and shows to illustrate the life of Lord
Swaminarayan. The exhibition showcases 'travel in time' through a video
show, a fiber-optics cosmos, miniature recreation of Chhapiya village,
three 'sound-n-light' shows, etc.
Hall 2 (Sat-Chit-Anand)
The Sat-Chit-Anand exhibition has a 14-screen multimedia presentation
on display. Apart from that, there is "Integrovision", an
exposition of Vedic philosophy and of man's search for the eternal
truth, "Tunnel of Mirrors", a glass mosaic, and dancing
Hall 3 (Nityanand)
The Nityanand exhibition has walk-through dioramas and fiberglass
figures displaying the message of the Upanishads, Ramayana and
Mahabharata. Audio-animatronics show; a recreation of the Hastinapur
palace (Mahabharata); a recreation of a peaceful Gurukula; compositions
of saint-poets and an exposition on 'Harmony of world religions' are the
other attractions of the exhibition.