Akshardham in Gandhinagar
Akshardham Photo gallery
Akshardham at Gandhinagar is one of the largest temples in the Indian state of Gujarat. The temple complex combines devotions, art, architecture, education, exhibitions and research at one place. The monument which is set in a 23-acre plot at Gandhinagar (Gandhinagar district) is built in pink sandstone. It is 108 feet tall and 6000 tonnes of stone has gone into its making. A point worth noting is that this modern monument to Hinduism was built as per the injunctions of Vastu Shastra. Not a bit of steel has been used. The monument stands on sculpted pillars, 210 single-piece stone beams, 57 window grills, domes, eight ornate zarokhas, etc. The sanctum sanctorum contains a 1.2 tonne gold-plated idol of Lord Swaminarayan, the founder of the sect that bears his name. The 7-foot idol is shown in a sitting posture with his right hand raised in abhay mudra. He is flanked by Swami Gunatitanand on his right and Swami Gopalanand Swami on his left. Both of them were his disciples. Swami Gunatitanand is called Swaminarayan's Akshardham the eternal abode. According to the Swaminarayan philosophy whenever Lord Swaminarayan incarnates on this planet he brings with him his Akshardham. Gunatitanand Swami is also called Aksharbrahma and ranks second in the hierarchy of the Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha which built the Akshardham monument. Inspiring episodes and incidents from the glorious history of Sanatan Dharma are presented in sound and light form for the benefit of the visitors. The show takes the visitors through various facets of Hinduism. So far millions of people have visited the monument since its inception on November 2,1992. They have been able to savour the story of Hinduism and to imbibe the message of universal peace and brotherhood. The wisdom of the Vedas, the epics, the Puranas is depicted on a crowded canvas by the exhibition. The visitor comes face to face with personages who have made this land what it is. It is a perfect mix of modernity and ancient values. Apart from Lord Ram going in search of his kidnapped wife, the visitor can see Shravan, the dutiful son, the Pandavas losing the game of dice in the Hastinapur palace, etc. Besides the visitors can see Sabari's long wait for Ram and Draupadi's humiliation in the Kauravasabha. The Hall of Harmony projects world religious side by side. The monument is ringed by aparikrama containing 365 stone pillars.