At the banks of river Yamuna in East Delhi stands the majestic Akshardham Temple which is a blend of architectural styles from across India. The main monument, at the center of the complex, is 141-foot high and 356-foot long and is covered top to bottom with carved details of deities, dancers and musicians. Designed in accordance with ancient Vedic text it is constructed entirely from Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian marble and has no support from steel or concrete.The monument also consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, nine domes, and 20,000 paintings and statues of Hinduism’s devotees. The monument also features the Gajendra Pith at its base, a plinth paying tribute to the elephant for its importance in Hindu culture and India’s history. It contains 148 scale sized elephants in total and weighs a total of 3000 tons.
Within the monument, under the central dome, lies a statue of Swaminarayan which is 11-foot high. It is surrounded by similar statues of the gurus of the sect. Each statue is made of five metals in accordance with Hindu tradition. Also within the central monument lie the statues of other Hindu deities, including Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, and Lakshmi Narayan. The Hall of Values features lifelike robotics and dioramas which display incidents from Swaminarayan’s life, portraying his message about the importance of peace, harmony, humility, service to others and devotion to God.
The theater houses Delhi’s first and only large format screen, measuring 85 x 65-foot. The theater shows a film specially commissioned for the complex, Neelkanth Yatra, to recount a seven-year pilgrimage made by Swaminarayan made during his teenage years throughout India. A Musical Fountain named after the founder of the Hindu organisation, Shastriji Maharaj measures 300 x 300 feet with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its center lies an eight-petaled lotus shaped yagna kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Panchratra shastra.
Also known as the Bharat Upavan, the gardens at Akshardham Temple have lush manicured lawns, trees, and shrubs. The garden is lined with bronze sculptures of contributors to India’s culture and history. These sculptures include children, women, national figures, freedom fighters, and warriors of India, including notable figures such as Mahatma Gandhi.