is one of the largest temples in the Indian state of Gujarat
. The temple complex combines devotions, art, architecture, education, exhibitions and research at one place which is spread in an area of 23 acres. The temple came to international attention when two heavily armed terrorists attacked it in September 2002. Akshardham Gandhinagar is a predecessor to the Akshardham at Delhi, built by the same religious organisation, Bochasanwasi Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) led by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It was inaugurated on November 2, 1992, during the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj.The complex is very popular among tourists visiting Gujarat.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj is the spiritual leader of BAPS Sanstha. He has created international cultural complexes like; the Akshardham in New Delhi India
, the Akshardham in Gandhinagar India, The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London, Atlanta, Georgia
, Houston, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, Los Angeles, California, Toronto, Canada
, and Nairobi. Even at the age of 85 Pramukh Swami travels and meets people throughout the World
to help those lead better lives. BAPS Sanstha is an international social, spiritual and charitable NGO affiliated with the United Nations.
Through its 3300 centers, 800 sadhus, 55000 volunteers and over a million followers, BAPS performs over a 160 humanitarian activities. Akshardham is a part of BAPS’s culture and educational activities. Akshardham aims to promote Indian art, culture, and values. It's tagline is, "This is a place where art is ageless, culture is borderless, and values are timeless." “In this Akshardham, may one and all find inspiration to mould their lives and may their lives become divine. Such is my prayer to God.” Shastri Narayanswarupdas (Pramukh Swami Maharaj) Inspirer and & Creator of Akshardham.
The monument enshrining the 7-foot-high (2.1 m), gold-leafed Murti of Lord Swaminarayan is the focal point of the complex. The majestic, intricately carved stone structure stands amid sprawling gardens. Six thousand tonnes of pink sandstone was used in building the monument which is regarded as an architectural masterpiece. The structure measures 108 feet (33 m) in height, 240 feet (73 m) in length and 131 feet (40 m) in width. The colonnade around the monument is 1,751 feet (534 m) in length.
The garden which is named Sahajanand Van is a unique blend of contemplative garden and children's park. It encloses a single-piece marble sculpture of Lord Swaminarayan and includes cultural spots; rides and games for children; herbal garden; a lake and a waterfall.
The Research Center:
The Akshardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH) is a futuristic research center with a rich library, study stations and archives. Access to the library is confined to enlisted scholars.
Three permanent exhibition halls have been set up to educate the visitor on spiritual movement. These are: