Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Akshardham - Gandhinagar

Day 2 in Baroda, we decided to go to Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar. Being at home with parents we obviously started late. 6am was the plan for any trip, when we left it was 11am! We started off in our 5 seater Omni taking the express highway to Gandhi Nagar. It took us about 3hours at a good 90kmph speed on the highway. It was a good day with cloudy weather, however the weather was so humid, anytime we stopped the car; it felt like we were in the hot over air room again! Go go go…keep going don’t stop!


Beautiful carvings on sandstone

When we reached it was almost 2pm. We ate our home-packed lunch outside the temple premises in our car. Apparently, after the terrorist attacks inside the temple in 2002, the institution doesn’t allow any belongings inside the temple. Which means no camera, no mobile– hence no photos…at all L big disappointment!  But then it also means that the readers should really come visit this place! It is magnificent architecture.
The temple is build in the memory and to worship Lord Swaminarayan who is believed to be an avatar of Lord Narayana, during the period of 1781 – 1830. The majestic, intricately carved stone structure stands amid sprawling gardens. Six thousand tones of pink sandstone were used in building the monument which is regarded as an architectural masterpiece. The intricate carvings on the pillars, walls & the ceilings are simply outstanding. On entering the temple, we see a huge 7 feet high golden statue of Lord Swaminarayan.
On the 1st and 2nd floor of the monument are the museum that have preserved the belongings of Lord Swaminarayan such as clothes, bed spread, hats, his room replica, hair, bones and ashes from cremation and teeth and nail bits when he was alive. Devotees preserve these, believing they still hold his spirituality.
Coming out of the temple there are two other attractions;
  • Mystic India - the video presentations of his teachings and small clips of a movie of his biography.  Ticket Rs. 45 per head
  • A 45-minute laser water 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. Ticket Rs. 75 per head.
Note: The temple is free for visiting.


Lord Swaminarayan
The water show was really splendid worth the ticket price. It displayed the story of a young boy Nachiketa and his dialogue with Lord Yamaraj – God of death; discussing the meaning of life, death, life after death.
Here is the official trailer video of the laser show.


A few personal disappointments! The Mystic India video was very beautiful showing Indian culture and people and celebrations. It actually made me feel like why I would ever leave my country which has such a rich ancient culture. We are good people with vast mysterious interesting history. Or living aboard will make me miss so many, actually infinite little things. The video mentioned the history of Indian spirituality which was quite interesting and I was totally hooked to the video. But as the video came to an end, people just stood up and started walking out, to the extent that I had to stand up and watch the last 5 mins of the show. It was sad in a way that my own people are not fascinated by the country’s history and magnificent culture. I wondered who is the target audience here then. I am neither too religious not spiritual, but to know of ancient Indian history was very interesting. Great day! This should be check on the Indian bucket list.

1 comment:

  1. Nice information , sentiments and photos .. Thanks !

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