Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

About The Temple

A General Introduction Of Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

The swaminarayan akshardham temple is a monumental structure that makes an exhibit of millennia of the Hindu tradition and the Indian culture along with its spirituality and architecture. Located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi, it was inaugurated in the year 2005 by the President of India. The Temple was a vision of Yogiji Maharaj, who was the spiritual head of the Swaminarayan Sanstha. Yogiji wanted to build a grand Temple by the banks of the Yamuna for his devotees in Delhi, but he died without realizing it. His successor Pramukh Swami Maharaj fulfilled Yogiji’s dream by successfully bringing the project to completion.

Cultural, spiritual and religious importance

Akshardham literally means the celestial abode of God, a place of eternal purity and peace. This magnificent Temple is dedicated to the worship of God and also echoes the vibrant Indian tradition in the fields of art, architecture, as well as religion. This architectural magnificence has more than two hundred statues of sages of India through the ages. The reason for having these statues is to reiterate the spiritual premise that each human soul is potentially divine in nature. Every prayer of the human is a step in moving towards union with God and every human action of service is a move towards divinity.

The presiding deity

The Sanctum Santorum or the garbhagruh of akshardham temple delhi has the statue of Bhagwan Swaminarayan seated at the center. He is surrounded by his consecutive successors. The spiritual gurus are manifestations of Aksharbrahma, or the eternal knowledge of the absolute and eternal servants of the God. They reside with Swaminarayan offering eternal worship to the Bhagwan in the garbhagruh. Object that have been sanctified by Swaninarayan during his lifetime are also preserved behind the garbhagruh.

Details of idols present

The inner Sanctum Santorum hosts the eleven feet high statue of Swaminarayan Bhagavan in a seated posture. The sitting posture of the statue is that of the abhaya mudra that communicates non-verbally through hand position, the protection of the divinity dispelling all fear in the minds of true devotee. The calm countenance on the face of the statue with serene smile compliments the mood of the abhaya mudra. The statues of other gurus surrounding Swaminarayan are either in a standing or keeling position, offering worship to the Bhagawan.

Other shrines present in Temple

There are also shrines that are dedicated to Sri Radha-Krishna, the celebrated Hindu pair epitomizing devotional love of God or Bhakti. Another shrine is dedicated to Shri Laxmi-Narayan. Narayan is the other name of Vishnu, the preserver of the universe and Laxmi, his wife is the symbol of beauty and prosperity of the universe. The Ram-Sita pair too is worshiped in another shrine in the Temple. Ram is an avatar of Vishnu and Sita is the symbol of virtue, loyalty and ultimate surrender to divinity. Finally, Shiv-Parvati duo is worshiped in another shrine. The two though spoken of separately, also denote the male-female aspect of the Divine.

Rituals and nature of worship

Devotees come to the Akshardham Temple with a mind full of reverence for the Divine. Since the Swaminarayan Bhagabhan is believed to be the Aksharbrahma, any true and sincere prayer before the statue is believed to be answered positively. There is prevalence of the ritualistic Abhishek, or pouring of water on the murti of Sri Neelkanth Varni, the teenage yogi form of Swaminarayan Bhagawan.

The Abhishek begins by the tying of sacred thread on the wrist followed by the recital of Sanskrit slokas during which the devotee pours Abhishek water on the murti. While performing the ritual, the devotees ask for fulfillment of their wishes. Other than this, there is a regular arati performed in the evening at 6.30 pm in which all can take part.

Celebrations in the Temple

Since Swaminarayan’s teachings were rooted in the Vedic tradition, all celebrations and devotion center on devotion to God, and discipline and virtue. All Akshardham Temples have the Temple of Sri Radha-Krishna as one of the Hindu shrines in it. Festivals that are associated with Radha-Krishna like Janmashtami, Holi, Rath Yatra, Radhaasthtami are celebrated with much fervor in the Temple. The Temple also hosts the Laxmi-Narayan and the Ram-Sita shrines for all of which occasions such as Diwali, Ramnavami or Dushera assume special importance. The presence of Shiv-Parvati duo also involves the celebration of Shivratri and the Dushera with much pomp.

March 28th is celebrated as the birthday of Sri Swaninarayan Bhagwan or the Swaminarayan Jayanti when devotees observe a waterless fast worship him. The celebration involves thousands of devotees who gather to listen to the talks given by the Sanstha scholars and offer their spiritual oblation to Swaminarayan. You can download akshardham temple photos and postcards from the official website.

Pilgrimage to the Akshardham

You will want to visit a Temple for your spiritual benefit apart from being relieved you’re your present state of unease if any. The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is an embodiment of such a spiritual journey. The very presence of the divine embodied through the seated statue to Swaminarayan will bring you that treasured sense of spiritual well-being. A pilgrimage to this Temple with devotion is more worthy than many other rituals. Knowing the akshardham temple timings will allow you to plan your pilgrimage in advance. The Temple remains closed on all Mondays, and is open Tuesdays through Sunday from 9.30 am to 6.30 am.

How To Reach

Since Akshardham is situated in the heart of the capital city of New Delhi, it’s local accessibility is easy, and there are many modes that you can choose to reach the place.

 

  • The international Indira Gandhi Airport is about 21 km that is about 1 hour 30 minutes of travelling distance from the Temple. You can take the orange line metro and alight at New Delhi Metro Station and then take the yellow line to disembark at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station. The blue line from there will bring you to the Akshardham Metro Station.
  • New Delhi Railway Station is about 11 km that is 40 minutes away from the Akshardham. You can take the yellow line Metro to Rajiv CHowk and then the blue line to Aksharaham Metro Station.
  • Old Delhi Railway Station is about 45 minutes or 10 km away. You can walk to Chandni Chowk Metro Station which is about 350 meters away and take the yellow line to disembark at Rajiv Chowk Metro and then take the blue line to Akshardham Metro Station.
  • The distance from Akshardham Metro to the Temple is a 350 meters walk.

 

Nearby Attractions

While visiting the Aksardham you will be acquainted with the different kinds of traditional architecture. In and around the Temple there are also some renowned shrines that you can plan to make a continuous pilgrimage journey.

  • The Laxminarayan Temple: It that was built in 1939 to honor the Hindu Goddess of prosperity Laxmi and her husband Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. The sprawling Temple complex also has shrines of Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna and the Buddha. The campus has a sprawling garden and houses the famous Geeta Bhavan too. The Temple was inaugurated by the Father of the nation on the condition that it would allow people of all castes to enter without any prohibition.
  • The Pracheen Hanuman Mandir: Close to the Connaught Place, this Pracheen or the ancient Hanuman Mandir is said to one of the five Temples that were built by the Pandavas after their victory over the Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra. The unique Hanuma Idol has only one eye visible to the devotee and is said to be the swambhuhu or the self-manifested form of the Bala Hanuman or Hanuman as in his youth.
  • The Bhairav Temple: Located in the backyards of Purana Killa, the legendary castles of the Pandavas, it is said to be the place where Bhima used to worship to attain Siddhi. The Temple is wrapped in ancient traditional legends as well as has the interesting idol of only the head of Lord Bhairava, the incarnation of Lord Shiva. The only Prasad that is offered here is liquor to the Lord.
  • The Kalkaji Temple: Close to the Bhairav Temple, this Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalkaji or Kali. This is another of the self-manifested Forms of the divinity among the Temples in Delhi. Bothe the Pandavas and the Kauravas are said to have worshipped the Goddess here.
  • The Lotus Temple: Built by the Bahai community, this Temple is constructed in the form of a semi-opened lotus flower. It is a gathering house for people of any religion where one can read or chant the Bahai scriptures or the scripture of any other religion. All these Temples in Delhi are well connected by the Metro services and you can conveniently travel from one to another on your pilgrimage journey.

History Of Temple

The akshardham temple history begins with the vision and dream of the spiritual guru Yogiji Maharaj in 1968 who wished to build a magnificent Temple for the devotees of Swaninarayan in Delhi by the bank of the Yamuna. Though he tried to begin the project, he died in 1971 without succeeding to do so. His successor and the present guru Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj took up the initiative in 1982 and put the proposal before the Delhi Development Authority. Though other places were suggested, Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj firmly put shape to the wish of Yogiji Maharaj.

Finally in the year 2000, after eighteen years sixty acres of land was allotted by the Delhi Development Authority and thirty acres by the Uttar Pradesh government. Puja was then offered at the site by Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj for the successful completion of the project. The process of construction was a complicated one and overseen by sadhus from the Gujrat Akshardham, who were scholars in the Pancha Shastra. More than ten thousand artisans and volunteers worked tirelessly to bring the Temple to completion.

The Temple was formally inaugurated by the then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Adul Kalam, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Sigh and the leader of the opposition Lal Krishna Advani. The Sanctum Sanctorum was newly designed and inaugurated by Pramukh Swamiji Maharaj in 2010. The Temple was a feature attraction during the Commonwealth games in 2010. Though controversial, the Guinness World Record mentions the Aksarhdham as the ‘World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple.’