Akshardham (Gandhinagar)

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This article is about the Hindu cultural complex in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. For other meanings, see Akshardham (disambiguation).
Akshardham
Akshardham, Gadhinagar
Akshardham, Gadhinagar
Location
Country: India
State: Gujarat
District: Gandhinagar
Location: Gandhinagar
Temple Details
Primary Deity: Swaminarayan
History
Date built: November 2, 1992
Creator: Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha
Website: http://www.akshardham.com/gujarat/

Swamianrayan Akshardham (Gandhinagar) is one of the largest Hindu temples in the Indian state of Gujarat. The temple complex, dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and built by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, combines devotions, art, architecture, education, exhibitions and research at one place which is spread in an area of 23 acres. The temple came to international attention when two heavily armed terrorists attacked it in September 2002.[1] The complex is popular among tourists visiting Gujarat.

History[edit]

In this Akshardham, may one and all find inspiration to mould their lives and may their lives become divine. Such is my prayer to God.

Akshardham Gandhinagar is a predecessor to the Akshardham at Delhi, built by the same religious organisation, Bochasanwasi Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) led by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It was inaugurated on November 2, 1992, during the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj.

2002 attack[edit]

Two heavily armed terrorists arrived at the Akshardham temple complex on September 24, 2002. They scaled the perimeter fence and opened fire. About 600 people were in the temple at the time. By the end of the 13-hour attack, 30 persons were killed and more than 80 persons were wounded.[2] National Security Guard (NSG) commandos intervened and killed both perpetrators to end the siege in an operation called Vajra Shakti by next day.

Structures[edit]

The cultural complex consist of the temple monument, gardens, educational centers, exhibitions and the research center spread across 23 acres.

The temple monument[edit]

The temple enshrining the 7-foot-high (2.1 m), gold-leafed Murti of Swaminarayan is the focal point of the complex. The majestic, intricately carved stone structure stands amid sprawling gardens. Six thousand tonnes of pink sandstone was used in building the temple which is regarded as an architectural masterpiece. The structure measures 108 feet (33 m) in height, 240 feet (73 m) in length and 131 feet (40 m) in width. The colonnade around the temple is 1,751 feet (534 m) in length.[3]

The garden[edit]

The garden which is named Sahajanand Van is a unique blend of contemplative garden and children's park. It encloses a single-piece marble sculpture of Lord Swaminarayan and includes cultural spots; rides and games for children; herbal garden; a lake and a waterfall.[4]

Research center[edit]

Akshardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH) is a research center with a rich library, study stations and archives. Access to the library is confined to enlisted scholars.[5]

Exhibitions[edit]

Three permanent exhibition halls have been set up to educate the visitor on spiritual movement.[6]

Hall 1: Sahajanand[edit]

The life of Swaminarayan is portrayed through imaginative settings and shows. The exhibition includes 'travel in time' through a video show; a fiber-optics cosmos; a miniature recreation of Chhapiya village; a 'Journey through India'; and three 'sound-n-light' shows.

Hall 2: Sat-Chit-Anand[edit]

This hall is used to present an IMAX large format film named Mystic India. Mystic India is the first large-format epic on India. Chronicling the incredible journey of Neelkanth, as Swaminarayan was known in his teenage years, through the heart and soul of India, it rediscovers a land enriched with an amazing wealth of wisdom, culture and spirituality. This film was produced by BAPS Charities and directed by well-known director of IMAX Movies, Keith Melton.

This hall once housed a spectacular 14-screen multimedia presentation, "Integrovision", to present an exposition of Vedic philosophy and of man's search for the eternal truth, through breath-taking imagery. Apart from the presentation, the exhibition also once included a 'Tunnel of Mirrors,' a glass mosaic and dancing musical fountains.

Hall 3: Nityanand[edit]

Walk-through dioramas and fiberglass figures display the message of the Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata. The exhibition includes an audio-animatronics show; a recreation of the Hastinapur palace from the Mahabharata; a recreation of an idyllic Gurukul nestled in the lap of nature; evotional compositions of saint-poets; and an exposition on 'Harmony of world religions'.

Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show[edit]

A 45-minute show depicts the story of Nachiketa from the Kathopanishad. The show, the longest of its kind, features the use of 4,000 nozzles, 2,000 lights, over 100 pumps and 12 fireball throwers.

The Temple remains closed on Mondays.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ News - Temple Carnage: Terrorist Attack on Akshardham
  2. ^ Dasgupta, Manas (Aug 29, 2003). "Akshardham attack: 'there was a standby terrorist'". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  3. ^ Welcome to the main Monument of Akshardham
  4. ^ Garden(Sahajanand Vun) at Akshardham
  5. ^ Welcome to the Research Center at Akshardham
  6. ^ Exhibitions at Akshardham

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°13′45″N 72°40′27″E / 23.22917°N 72.67417°E / 23.22917; 72.67417