Akshardham Temples in India
We all know about the Hindu Temples of Swaminarayan Akshardham for their beautiful architecture inspired by Indian Culture. These Neo-Vedic architectural style temples are a famous place of worship as well as for tourism. These temples are huge complexes with beautiful statues of deities, prayer halls, vegetarian kitchens, lush green gardens and technology equipped digital shows on spirituality.
A brief history of the founder: Swaminarayan was born in Chhapaiya, Uttar Pradesh on 3rd April 1781 and was also known as Sahajanand Swami. He lived a life of a Yogi and brought new life to Hinduism with his principles of Dharma, Ahimsa and Brahmachacarya. He laid the foundation of Swaminarayan Sampraday on the teachings of his Guru Swami Ramanand. His followers believe that their souls go to Akshardham after moksha. He built 6 temples and wrote a book called Shikshapatri on his teachings.
1) Advocated Women’s rights including education and abolition of Sati practice.
2) Upliftment of women belonging to schedule caste.
3) Opened shelter houses for the poor.
4) Opposed caste system totally.
5) Opposed animal sacrifices during Yajana ceremonies.
6) Tried to bring peace in society.
The following are the beautiful Akshardham Temples that are managed by Swaminarayan Sampraday:
1)Akshardham, Ahemdabad (Gujarat): The exact location of this magnificent temple is in Gandhinagar, 24 kms from Ahemdabad. The architecture of this huge complex is modern with Neo-Vedic tones and was created by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the 5th spiritual successor of Sri Swaminarayan. Temple is 131 feet high with 97 pillars surrounded by a 15 acre garden with fountains. The main deities are Narayan and Laxmi. A 7 feet gold statue of Sri Swaminarayan adorns the central chamber, an Abhishek Mandap and 5 Exhibition Halls for digital visual shows on spirituality.
2)Akshardham, Delhi: This abode of God was built in 2005 near the banks of Yamuna River. The beautiful sculptures, paintings and digital shows depict age old Hindu traditions and culture. There are statues of many Hindu Deities here. It’s a proud holder of a Guinness Book record for being the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. Its step-well is huge and holds enchanting water shows and complex was wonderful gardens.
3)Akshardham, Jaipur: A beautiful temple made of white marble is dedicated to God Narayan aka Lord Vishnu. Magnificent idols of God grace this temple and it looks fabulous with its sculptures, carvings and lush green gardens.
4)Swaminarayan Temple, Surat: Sand-stone built this temple is very graceful in appearance. Swaminarayan is believed to be the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu and this temple is dedicated to this reincarnation.
5)Sri Swaminarayan Mandir, Mumbai: This is a part of Swaminarayan Sampraday and there is the idol of Lord Krishna as the deity, who is believed to be the Supreme Avatar.
6)Akshardham, Nagpur: This sprawling temple has a large kitchen, a restaurant and play area for kids. Its striking architecture comes to life with impressive lighting décor at night.
7)Sri Swaminarayan Temple, Bhuj: On the request of people Swaminarayan himself built it in 1822 and it was one of the first 6 temples built by him.
8)Sri Swaminarayan Temple, Junagarh: This was also built personally by Sri Swaminarayan himself. It’s built in traditional Hindu style of architecture and a newly made complex is added to the premises.
9)Swami Narayan Mandir, Anand: Beautifully carved in marble and sand-stone this temple is 6 storied and is landmark in this city.
10)Sri Swaminarayan Mandir, Vadtal: The chief shrine is dedicated to Lord Narayan, 2nd shrine to Radha-Krishna and 3rd to Bhaktimala. It was the 1st Swaminarayan Temple in India and made by Sri Swaminarayan himself.