A monument is a statue, building, or other edifice created
to commemorate a person or important event. They are frequently
designed as artistic objects to improve the appearance of
a city or location
Swaminarayan Akshardham reflects the essence and magnitude
of India's ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spirituality.
The main monument, depicting ancient Indian "vastu shastra"
and architecture, is a marvel in pink sandstone and white
marble that is 141 feet high, 316 feet wide and 370 feet long
with 234 ornate pillars, over 20,000 sculptures and statues
of deities, eleven 72-foot-high huge domes (mandapams) and
decorative arches. And like a necklace, a double-storied parikrama
of red sandstone encircles the monuments with over 155 small
domes and 1,160 pillars. The whole monument rises on the shoulders
of 148 huge elephants with 11-feet tall panchdhatu statue
of Swaminarayan presiding over the structure.
The other attractions of the complex are three exhibition
halls spaced around two huge ponds, where one is a venue for
light-and-sound show. The three halls are "Sahajanand
Darshan", "Neelkanth Darsdhan" and "Sanskruti
Vihar". "Sahajanand Darshan" is where life
of Swaminarayan is displayed through robotic shows, while
"Neelkanth Darsdhan" has a huge I-Max theatre screening
movie based on the life of the Lord. Another amazing presentation
is "Sanskruti Vihar" with 12-minute boat ride experience
of India's glorious heritage.
For visitors, entry to the complex is free. However, those
who want to visit exhibition halls and theatres, Rs.125 is
to be paid and for children and senior citizens the charges
are Rs.75. "Over 6,000 visitors could easily witness
the shows and enjoy boat-rides everyday, while over 25,000
people can visit the temple. We have deployed almost 140 guides
who will facilitate visitors during their visit. It requires
at least four hours to visit the entire complex thoroughly
and see all the shows," said a temple management committee
member, adding that the opening ceremony would be telecast
live on Aastha channel. Elaborate security arrangements have
also been made for the entire complex. Besides installing
close circuit television cameras it has also deployed hundreds
of its own security personnel.
To the Capital's many tourist destinations will be added
one more this coming month. The sprawling Swaminarayan Akshardham
complex spread over 30 acres on the banks of the Yamuna near
Noida Mor in East Delhi is to be formally inaugurated on November
The Rs.400-crore cultural complex, inspired by Pramukh Swami
Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan
Sanstha (BAPS), will be popularised by its builders as "a
place for cultural education and entertainment". The
temple complex has drawn inspiration for its architecture
from the historic temples of Badrinath (Uttaranchal), Somnath
(Gujarat) and Konark (Orissa). It is the second Akshardham
complex in the country after the one at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Even as last-minute preparations are now on for the inauguration,
curious visitors have started coming in for a look or for
offering "puja" and "abhishek".
At the heart of the complex is a palace-like monument built
of at least 12,000 tons of pink sandstone and white marble
brought in from Rajasthan. Topped with a series of domes,
it stands 129 feet high, 275 feet wide and 315 feet long.
Almost every square inch of the exterior has been exquisitely
carved with statues and motifs of Hindu deities and Indian
flora and fauna.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the 83-year-old spiritual leader of
the Swaminarayan sect that has over 10 lakh followers across
the globe, has closely monitored every detail of the complex.
It took over 7,000 builders, masons and polishers to build
the complex in record time. The place is built to withstand
major quakes "and to last at least a thousand years".
The complex also has two huge exhibition halls; one will
take visitors on a visual journey through India's cultural
heritage, while the other "will depict Indian moral values
through a light-and-sound show". The complex also boasts
of an Imax cinema, a canteen big enough to accommodate 5,000
people at one sitting, a research centre for "social
harmony" and meditation gardens dotted with fountains
and bronze sculptures.