If you’re one of those who live in Delhi then you must be well aware by the name itself what magnificence, Akshardham is. For those who still are wondering, I would do the hard work. Akshardham is a multifaceted Hindu temple in Delhi. The compound flaunts the varied colors of Hindu culture and the struggle of Sri Swaminarayan, who now has a fleet of followers and worshippers. The structure is known not only for its cultural values that is inculcated within the boundaries but also for its architectural excellence, an epitome of craftsmanship and ability.
This itself proves why everyone is so inclined and excited to make a trip to this place once he visits Delhi and why everyone who lives in Delhi goes about showcasing the marvel.
From the morning of my planned outing, there was a much gung ho about the visit to the temple. My cousin had changed her outfit thrice and was not sure as of yet if she looked perfect or not. Neither was I sure if people were coming to glare at the temple or her, but I chose to keep mum which is best where girls and their dresses are concerned. Parking the car safely in the marked zone, we walked what appeared to me at least a kilometer to the security checking area.
One of the prerequisites of entering the temple is the security check. It had a long chain of people standing and the queue was moving slower than the snail. A plump guy ahead in the queue had some issues with the security and some sort of irrational discussion was being held. I stood in the sun, cursing, sweating, and desperately waiting for my turn. Finally the man budged an inch and the queue shrunk a mile. My family was already in and taking the tickets for the three hour long exhibition. The man very casually frisked every sundry guy or so it seemed. It was my turn finally.
One note of caution here for the people who have a love for smoking cigarette. “It is not allowed inside Sir” said the man frisking me. My feet trembled. Five hours without my baby. How can it be? “Is there any way out?” I asked politely. “I am afraid no, Sir” He replied “you have to keep it back”.
There was no way I was going way back to the parking lot in this scorching sun. The man pointed at the next alternative available to him. The “USE ME” box. I dreaded but parted with a heavy heart with my second love. The queue behind me by now had become restless and pushy. I quickly placed it safely inside in the cleanest possible area of the bin. I had hardly turned for my final frisking when somebody tapped me on my shoulder. It was my cousin. “There is a problem” she said “I have brought my cell phone with me. They say it’s not allowed. You have to go back to the car parking to keep it.” I would have killed anyone there and then had I had a gun or a knife, but unfortunately, neither of those things are allowed in there either.
Once inside the temple boundaries, there is no boundary to your admiration. I was spellbound when I glanced at the extreme marvel sculptures of flora, fauna, dancers, gods and goddess which decorate the wall of the main building. Inside is an 11 feet tall idol of Swaminarayan made of alloy comprising of five metals, drawing parallel to Hindu mythology and tradition.
So what’s in there for you?
The exhibition includes the Hall of values which showcases lifelike robotics and dioramas. They depict the struggle of Swaminarayan and convey the message of brotherhood, harmony, serenity, prosperity, humbleness, and faith towards God. Such a brilliant work of robotics and lifelike mannequins make the experience worthwhile.
Measuring 26 meter by 20 meter, the screen is one of the largest in Asia’s. The movie screened is the Yatra done by Swami Narayan to the Chaar Dhams which took him seven long years to complete. The screen runs the show both in English and Hindi and you can ask for headphones if you wish to listen in another language than that is being played in there. My mother chose Hindi over English, and I choose English over any other language at all times. Whatever the medium is, the movie captures the brilliant locations and depict the struggle of Swaminarayan while enrapturing your senses.
One of the largest and magnificent one, it showcases brilliance while you can enjoy the décor sitting on the side steps with an eight petaled lotus shaped kund in the centre. Believe me, this one was the best musical fountain, I had ever seen. Spare yourself some time here for brilliant selfies.
A lake that surrounds the main monument containing holy waters from 151 rivers and lakes that is considered sacred by the blessing of Swaminarayan. Adjoining the Narayan Sarovar are 108 Gaumukhas depicting 108 names for God.
The Premvati Food Court is a vegetarian restaurant, The restaurant caters a variety of traditional dishes with specialty in Swaminarayan khichhadi. My personal choice was, however Masala Dosa, which they served without the onions and garlic followed by Swaminarayan tea which was a treat to my appetite.
When is Akshardham Closed for public?
The Complex is closed for public viewing on all Mondays.
When to visit?
During summers, the stones get too hot for bare feet to handle, so I would recommend October to April as the ideal months for the visit. It was June when we planned our trip and that made it a bit tough for the uncovered portions of the temple. However, there are carpets on which you can walk during other time periods. The exhibition is in air conditioned rooms, so walking in the sun is way too minimal.
Rates are minimal and can be seen on the Akshardham website.
The Akshardham Temple, Ahmedabad, received in 2007, The Guinness World Records award as the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. Overall, it’s a world class experience which shouldn’t be missed in this life. Plan a trip soon, and share your experience with us on thatslyf. We’re waiting to hear from you!!