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Akshardham Temple – a place that always stuns me!

Akshardham_temple_india_in_details
Amazing Akshardham captured at night!

Why is Akshardham so special?

India is a land of many temples and I have not seen all of them yet. But for me, Delhi’s Akshardham is very unique. It is quite a new temple as it was opened in 2005. It was built by thousands of craftsmen who carved its breathtaking exteriors and interiors by using traditional methods. The temple (or mandir – as this the Hindi word) is not only a tribute to Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830 CE) but also it is a tribute to great sages and avatars of God. And the message of Akshardham is as beautiful as the temple- every human has a God’s particle and every human has a different way to serve humanity.

Akshadram_temple
The beauty of Akshardham temple in New Delhi can take your breath away

 

Entering Akshardham Temple

While entering the temple, the first thing that you will see is the ten welcome gates which symbolize ten directions (according to Indian culture). Later, through “Bhakti Dwar” which shows 208 different pairs of God and his devotee like Ram and Sita or Krishna and Radha, you will enter the Visitor Center where one can find some brochures in different languages.  Once you leave this building, you will come across the Holy Footprints (Charnarvind) of Bhagwan Swaminarayan carved in white marble and then you can admire the beauty of the Akshardham temple. It is built of pink stone and white marble while following the Vedic architectural tradition as no steel has been used. 234 carved pillars, 9 breathtaking domes and more than 20,000 sculpted figures – these numbers can give you an idea about the massive size of the mandir. Remember to take off your shoes before you enter the temple.

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Another remarkable gate – Mayur Dwar (Peacock Gate), which welcomes you with 869 carved peacocks. 

Inside the temple

I clearly remember that the temple had already taken my breath away while I was walking on its stairs and the feeling doubled when I crossed the doorstep.

In the very center, a huge gold – plated sculpture of Swaminarayan is surrounded by his five successors.  Behind the main part, you can have a look at the holy relics of Swaminarayan. In the front part, you can also find four separate places with different avatars and their devotees – Krishna and Radha, Narayan and Lakshmi, Sita and Ram, Parvati and Shiv. As long as you are in there, you are likely to admire the intricately carved domes which are stunning. Every mandapam has a different story carved which is connected with the life of Swaminarayan. Be slow, be a keen observer and pay a close attention to the details. Feel the energy and let your body absorb it.  Remember it is a temple and hence you are expected to be respectful.

Swaminarayan_sculpture
Bhagwan Swaminarayan with his five successors – Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shastriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj, and Pramukh Swami Maharaj.

Elephant scenes

While you are outside, you may want to circle around the temple in a clockwise direction. There is a lot to observe- especially the outstanding art that is everywhere on the façade. You are going to  notice 60-feet long bronze panels (called Narayan Peeth) which showcase some scenes from the life of Swaminarayan. You may also want to circle around the temple once more but this time on the lower level. (where the shoes are permitted)

Gajendra_Peeth_Akshardham
A story of a king who wanted to reward a skilled poet with the amount of gold equal to the weight of an elephant. Do you want to know how he solved the problem? Visit Akshardham 🙂

Exhibitions – a must-see

And now something that you should not miss! And these are three exhibitions (available in two languages – Hindi and English) which cost just 170INR for an adult (the prices are cheaper for seniors and kids 4-11 years old, below 4 the entry fee is free). The first one is called Sahajanand Darshan – The Hall of Value which takes you through a journey of universal values like service, compassion, unity, non-violence (ahimsa) and so on.

At this point, you would already get to know some parts of the life of Neelkanth and why vegetarianism is so important. It will take you 1 hour to go through all of them and that is why you must remember that you need to start visiting the exhibitions early enough since there are many more things to see.  The next part is Neelkanth Darshan – a 45-minute movie on Swaminarayan’s early life that I mentioned in one of the previous paragraphs. It is definitely a must-watch as it will help you to understand the background of this great temple.

 

Akshardham_exhibition
Different stories from the life of Neelkanth can be a great lesson for the visitors.

The last exhibition is Sanskruti Darshan – a 12-minute boat ride through thousands of years of Vedic era. Scenes of people performing surgery, doing yoga and playing chess, the oldest university class, market place, scenes related to astronomy and mathematics –all of this will show you the different sides of the ancient Vedic life.

Vedic_times_in_Akshardham
I highly recommend you to take the boat ride.

Mesmerizing show

Once you are done with the boat ride, make sure that you don’t get late for the Water Show which starts after the sunset.  (Timings change according to the seasons). The show combines video projection, colorful lasers, water jets, underwater flames, music and a live performance by child actors. All of this just cost me 80INR however prices may change in future.

The show takes only 24 minutes and and the only drawback for a foreigner is that the whole performance is only in Hindi but regardless, the experience is truly amazing and you are likely to find some locals or the temple workers who may want to help you with translations later.

Show_in_Akshardham
I am not quite able to explain in words how I felt while experiencing this. It is really out of the world.

This is not the end!

After experiencing different exhibitions and spending a lot of time in the temple,  you are likely to get hungry! Next to the water show, there are some small stalls which serve snacks but if you want to eat a proper meal, visit the food court which is towards the exit. You can find tasty and cheap food including delicious desserts. They also have a dessert which is one of my favorites – Mishti Dahi. Next to the canteen, you may want to take a look at the souvenir shop where you can buy interesting books, paintings, herbal medicines and souvenirs. This is also the place where the visitors collect their professionally clicked pictures which are taken inside the temple complex. It costs just a few dollars. Since, cameras and mobile phones are not allowed inside the complex, this is the only way to have a picture with the Akshardham temple in the background.

food_in_akshardham
And in the end, try some tasty food in the beautiful food court of Akshardham. 

The Akshardham temple is something that I will never get bored with. I get a fresh and new feeling each time I visit this place. On my each visit, I  focus on a different aspect of the temple and almost always, I realise that I am not able to see it all.

The temple also inspires me to look back at my own life and do a little bit of self introspection. This place is very special for me and I always take everyone there. I took my parents and my sister’s family there and they all loved it. All of them got stunned by different things and even my little niece was mesmerized by the surreal water show.

She said that it was  the most beautiful thing that she had ever seen even  she could not understand anything. Akshardham temple is a must-see for everyone, regardless of the religion, the country of origin or your age or beliefs.

Akshardham_by_india_in_details
Remember, Akshardham is not just a tourist site. It is the adobe of God, so you are expected to be respectful

Some basics:

Items like cameras, mobile phones and other electronic devices, food and drinks from the outside, pets, luggage, toys, alcohol and tobacco are not allowed. Every person is checked by security before entering the complex. In case you have some of these items with you, you can leave them in a free cloak room. There is a strict dress code within the complex – covered shoulders, chest, navel and upper arms and the lower wear must be at least below knee.

The entry to the complex is open from 9.30 am to 6.30pm (closed every Monday).

Presented basic information should not be the base to demand anything inside the complex as they can change. That is why before visiting Akshardham complex, I recommend you to visit the official website akshardham.com.

About Karolina Goswami

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy reading the stuff that you will not easily find on the mainstream media. I am a girl from Poland who is living in India. I am a seeker and I share my thoughts through this medium with the world citizens. For more details, check 'about me' section in the top menu bar. To contact me, write to me on indiaindetails@gmail.com or simply write on the comment section below every post.

42 comments

  1. Digpalsinh udavat

    You are invited to visit Ghandinagar Aksharhdham ( Gujarat), u will fell same divine atmosphere. It also has one very remarkable, heart taking water show.

    • Thank you!
      I will definitely visit it one day 🙂
      Best regards,
      Karolina Goswami

    • The work under taken by you is such an extra ordinary thing, it makes every Indian feel proud. I am your great follower and when ever u visit Gujarat, u can count on me. I will put all my resources to aid u in your project of representing India. Available on e-mail.

      • I really appreciate it.
        I’ve already had a chance to visit Gujarat and I have great memories from this part of India but in the future, I would like to explore it more 🙂

        Wish you all the best!
        Best regards,
        Karolina Goswami

  2. Thank you very much for spreading of Indian culture, realities and rituals.

  3. Hi there ! I’m one of the biggest fan of your work, the way you highlighting the different parts of india And the culture of the india is the marvellous,i would like to suggest one place to visit in gujarat,it is the swaminarayan temple bhuj. You will get there spritual experience which you had never been before,specially in mangala aarti(worship of god at 5:30 am) .. apart from that my maternal aunt is also from poland ,her name is same as you kerolina. I visited poland once and the the people of poland are very friendly and polite. Once again thank you very much for making us proud for our own country, And don’t forget to visit gujarat

    • Namaste Harsh!

      Thank you for your kind words and your support!
      I appreciate that you shared your suggestion. I’ve already had a chance to visit Gujarat but I haven’t seen this temple. At some stage, I will definitely want to do it.
      Nice to know that you have an aunt from Poland 🙂

      Greetings to you and your family!
      Best regards,
      Karolina Goswami

      • Thanks for answering,i was not hoping that one of the youtube star would read my suggestion and reply, once again the way you have observed akshrdham and described it , is amazing.please give me some suggestions for developing such a skill!!!

  4. What is your view point about expends crores of money on temple? I think this enormous money could be used for educating poor Hindus who are fooled by christian missionaries and allure them to leave their tradition, dharma, culture and thus changing demography of Bharat.

    • Please, follow my website and in the future, I will answer your question in one of the documentaries or articles.

      Best regards,
      Karolina Goswami

    • Just studies are not the only thing, arts, beauty, architectures, dance, sculputures are also part of study. These things showcase examples of perfection. This arguement that instead of spending money there ….is not correct. there are other things like it brings pride, it brings appreciation from others…and so much more.

    • one more thing I would like to mention here. To your point…. we should stop donating money in temples and instead pay for some poor students tuition. If you are doing this then you have full right and valid point to say that.
      Please dont get offended.

    • Pronoydeep Saikia

      @Sankhdip…. This is also a medium of education. By visiting these places, many tourist/visitors (both from foreign and other parts of India) who are not much aware of a particular culture though he/she may be an Indian as you know ours is a multicultural society, can accumulate or gain knowledge of that particular culture much more efficiently than other means of knowledge. As you said providing education through books or texts or other medium may have been used instead of spending so much money in building temples or such mesmerizing structures, I think, there is a great difference in attaining knowledge via both the type of medium. I think, Karolina would not have been so impressed about Akshardham temple if she had got to know about it through book/text medium. As she has visited this mesmerizing structure by herself, the impact has been hugely different. I think you will also agree with me in this regard.

  5. Madam Karolina

    Another superb article. A must visit place for all.

    • My humble thanks for your kind words!
      And yes, you are right – this is definitely a must-visit place!

      Best regards,
      Karolina Goswami

  6. Ohh got itthanks

  7. Pavan Kumar Namburi

    That’s an awesome description of the temple. I am glad that I have visited this temple but really sorry for my self as I have not given time enough for exploring such a marvelous structure. My trip to temple was just for 1 hour that to late hours of the day so missed on most of the attractions you mentioned. Now I have decided to have a one more visit that to a full day visit to explore of those you mentioned. Thanks for enlightening me of what I have missed.

  8. While I was somewhat disappointed that I could not take pictures (I understand why though) My memory is filled with the magnificence of the place. The engineering and logistics of the complex is astounding as well. It is both new and old in the same breath. I only wish that I had time to stay for the light show in the evening. Perhaps some day I will visit again.
    (Toronto Canada)

    • In my personal opinion, it is really worth it.
      I have seen this water show a few times already and I don’t think I will ever get bored experiencing it 🙂

      Best regards,
      Karolina Goswami

  9. Very well written like always. I like the way you write from only your experience. It makes your information in a unique way, interesting and worth reading. It reminds me of my time when it was under construction and used to cross it everyday.
    I have been there so many times to just eat in there canteen. We used to spend evenings there. I felt the same way as you wrote after I first saw it.

    • Varun,

      Thank you for kind words and also for sharing your experience about Akshardham temple 🙂
      I have also visited this temple many times and of course, when I am about to leave, I always visit its canteen.

      Regards,
      Karolina Goswami

  10. Thanks, Karolina Goswami for an amazing article.

    I have visited Akshardham Delhi few times and it’s just unforgettable. I would like to add that without visiting Akshardham Delhi a trip to real India is NOT complete.

    Not just temples and architecture but many systems, concepts and arts developed in ancient India (Ayurveda, Education, and much more) were developed considering minimum waste, low cost, sustainable and for the humankind.

    Great to see increasing population practicing vegetarianism (in western countries and in UK where i live)

    Keep up the great work!

    Namaskar!
    Vimal Islaniya

    • Namaste Vimal!

      Many thanks from the bottom of my heart.

      Indeed, Akshardham is a unique masterpiece with outstanding atmosphere and spiritaual aura and whoever has a chance to visit it, should not miss it.

      Best regards,
      Karolina Goswami

  11. I have been to Akshardham twice and both times, I have been mesmerized. Once in 2012 and second time with my wife in 2016.

    The irony I find is that, when the Lord Swaminarayan was alive he didn’t posses anything and today he has temples dedicated to him in five different continents and every one of them is remarkable, including one in London which was only 3 kilometers away from where I lived as a child and I have been there numerous times.

    Btw Did you know, the instigator of the temple and head of Baps pramukh Swamiji Mharaj passed away late last year.

  12. Namastey bhabhi maa(sister-in-law mother).
    I have once visited akshardham in 2011.I live in ncr region.it was great to see that temple for that one and only time.It was too good and breathtaking experience.
    I admire u very much.I am now 25+.freedom fighter netaji Subhash C Bose once said if you want to respect a women than respect her as maa kali(the black goddess which have another very fair complexion incarnation as Durga ma too who killed male buffalo demon and other demons).
    Hope you will reply………..I have promoted your blog among 150people… Most of them watched……and targeting for 2000 people….

  13. Hi Karolina

    I am very proud of you for bringing India to a focal point of past civilization. Over hundred of years invaders and rulers totally destroyed our way of life what we enjoyed as a nation of openness, inclusiveness of any foreign religions and their respective cultures. We certainly found many positive aspects from all these outsiders. You as a foreign born young lady took upon yourself to show the world the good sides of India. God bless you and Anurag and please keep on doing the great job you are doing which we Indians could not do for so many centuries. I am confident that India will rise to the top of civilization again. I am an outsider living in another great country called Canada. I hope some day in future we meet over a cup of coffee or a lassi and chat for a while.

    • Karolina Goswami

      Namaste Asok!

      My humble thanks for your kind words and your support.
      As an outsider, I am just telling the world about India according to my own understanding 🙂

      Of course, maybe at some stage we will meet.
      Remember that you can always contact me at indiaindetails@gmail.com

      Best regards,
      Karolina Goswami

  14. You are doing a great job. I feel very proud whenever i see a foreigner in Indian traditional clothes. There are a lot of intetesting facts about India that the world is unaware of. Many many thanks to the people like you for spreading the real truth of India.
    Jai Hind

  15. Ramakrishna mangarao

    Hi, madam a small request from my side to you please make a documentary on wonderful ancient city DWARAKA. It is a wonder on earth DWARAKA is the proof that INDIA has the oldest civilization on earth

  16. Pronoydeep Saikia

    Namaste Karolina ji,

    Your articles are always amazing. You have put forward a very detailed description of the Akshardham Temple. While reading the article, it gives me a feeling that I myself is inside the temple and watching all with my own eyes. I have heard that there is a garden too in the temple which more or less describes about the modern history of India, with statues of freedom fighters, etc. Hope, you include some description about that too in the article.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Pronoy

  17. Namaste karolina,
    The way you write about India and the way you understand india, you must be reincarnation of some yogi or guru. love to watch and read your blog. Thanks from bottom of my heart i can’t explain what you did not just for india but for the people around the world. after all we are a family. Defendants of one mighty god.
    With regards,
    Rinku Thakur

  18. really Akshardham so special inside of the temple and that elephant scences of the temple and the exhibitions

  19. Jai Swaminarayan Karolina,

    Wonderful article. I am a Swaminarayan (BAPS) follower and I am glad to see that Akshardham is making very positive impact on all, regardless of visitors’ age, ethnicity or religion and thank you for sharing this blog with the world as outsiders seem to easily trust the words coming out of a non-indian person when the topic is ‘INDIA’
    You may seem non-Indian from physical appearance but to me you seem more Indian than most Indians.. You experienced India in the way that a very few people are fortunate enough to do so. I live in USA and many times I get disheartened by crime index and type of gruesome crimes that take place here yet people consider America as modern country and India a backward country. Indian culture and religion has so much to offer but it is unfortunate that Indian youth tend to accept ‘bad’ things of what western world has to offer and do not take ‘good’ stuff and irony is that Indians are becoming modern in physical appearances and outwardly things and going backward 10 times faster in inward qualities and spirituality. I cannot thank GOD enough for bringing me to such socio-spiritual organization like BAPS. It is truly the torch bearer in Hinduism.
    You bring very unique perspective of India. Keep doing the good work.

  20. Hi Karolina
    How are you?
    I am Shalini, I really appreciate your effort about this great land.
    I request you make a video on Karnataka about its food, dressing, and its architecture. I would also suggest a places like Belur, Halibed, Pattalkal they are all cradle of Indian style craving.Bangalore is beautiful city and known for its IT and BT.
    I am from Bangalore.Please do e-mail me if you need any help in this regard.

  21. I recommend you to target your website to western countries (because it seems like motive of this website) . And it is possible, ask some developers using search console.

    Because Indians knew abt their country very well !
    Take it as positive node.

    Thank ya !

  22. I highly appreciate your work on presenting Indian relegion and philosophy in detail.
    But if you dint mind can I make a suggestion that as you present these awesome facts on yoga and spirituality why not refer to some of the standard texts on the subject matters as well.As the foremost text on spirituality is said to be Bhagavad-gita, because of its profound philosophy and matters which make it a true reference manual for human life.
    Because India has the jewel of spirituality from which the world can be highly benefitted.
    So if you can present a short video on this highly praised Bhagavad-gita, not in a concocted form, but from the standard source. I think “Bhagavad-Gita As It Is” is just the right text and you’ll surely like it as a much more insight into this great philosophy in an intriguing yet authoritative manner.

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