The building had been planned since 1968 as a vision of Yogiji Maharaj. Yogiji Maharaj, the spiritual head of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha at the time, expressed his desire for wanting a grand temple built on the banks of the Yamuna river to two or three devotee families of Swaminarayan that resided in New Delhi at the time. Attempts were made to start the project, however little progress was made. In 1971, Yogiji Maharaj died.
In 1982, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj’s successor as the spiritual head of BAPS, started to continue fulfilling the dream of his guru Yogiji Maharaj and prompted devotees to look into the possibility of build the temple in Delhi. A request for the plan was put forward to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), and several different places were suggested, including Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, and Faridabad. Pramukh Swami Maharaj stood firm in following the wishes of Yogiji Maharaj to build a temple on the banks of river Yamuna.
In April 2000, after 18 years of battle the Delhi Development Authority offered 60 acres of land, and the Uttar Pradesh Government offered 30 acres for the project. Upon receiving the land, Pramukh Swami Maharaj performed puja on the site for success in the project. Construction on the temple began on 8 November 2000 and Akshardham was officially opened on 6th November 2005, with the building being completed in two days short of five years. Thousands of workers involved in the construction of temple.
Akshardham Temple was inaugurated in November 2005, by the former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and Swami Maharaj the spiritual leader of BAPS. Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the current spiritual leader of Swaminarayan Sanstha, BAPS. Swaminarayan Akshardham was constructed under his guidance, after his guru, Yogiji Maharaj, expressed a wish for the same.
The temple preserves 11 ft tall cover with gold statue of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The building is constructed entirely from Pink Sandstone and Italian Marble, without any concrete or steel. The intricate carvings, magnanimous structure and the backdrop of River Yamuna, render the temple a masterpiece of art. Other than the main temple, there are a number of buildings in the complex where you can enjoy cultural and spiritual activities.
The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple has recently entered the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s largest Hindu temple complex. The temple is spread over an area of 86,342 square feet. It is 356 feet long, 316 feet wide and 141 feet high.
‘Sahajanand Pradarshan’ is the first Hall in the complex. It features life size robots, dioramas, and incidents from Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s life. It also houses world’s smallest animatronics robot, in the form of Ghanshyam Maharaj, the child form of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
‘Nilkanth Kalyan Yatra’, Hall 2, houses a large format screen. Here, a movie, specially commissioned for the complex, shows the journey of Bhagwan Swaminarayan throughout India.
‘Sanskruti Vihar’, Hall 3, takes visitors on a journey through 10,000 years of Indian history in 10 minutes. Visitors are seated in specially designed peacock boats that make their way around an artificial river.
The Yagnapurush Kund is India’s largest step well. It descends down, via a series of steps, to a traditional ‘yagna kund’. At night, a musical fountain show, representing the circle of life, is played for an audience, seated on the same steps.
The Bharat Upavan, or ‘Garden of India’, has sprawling lawns, varied trees and shrubs, dotted with bronze sculptures of the contributors to India’s culture.
The Yogi Hraday Kamal is a lotus shaped garden, containing stones engraved with quotes from world luminaries, ranging from Shakespeare and Martin Luther King, to Swami Vivekananda and Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
How to Reach :
The Akshardham Temple is situated in East Delhi. The temple is about 9-10 kms from the New Delhi Railway station if you exit from platform no.12 (Ajmeri Gate) and not platform no1. (Paharganj). Auto Rickshaws are easily available. The Akshardham Metro Station is a complement of the temple located nearby. A metro train to the station can be easily boarded from the New Delhi Metro Station. It is around 4 kms from the Nizamuddin Railway Station. You can take an auto from the prepaid counter at the station.
Delhi has many hotels range from luxury, deluxe, star to budget hotels, which provide enough accommodation options. The hotels well equipped with modern facilities offer the world class services. Some of the most popular hotels are Crown Plaza Surya (5 Star Deluxe), Ashok Hotel (5 Star Deluxe), Hyatt Regency (5 Star Deluxe), Le Meridien (5 Star Deluxe) and Radisson Hotel (5 Star Deluxe).