Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and moderated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans construct Akshardham.
The temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi,was officially opened on 6 November 2005.It sits on the banks of the Yamuna adjacent to the 2010 Commonwealth Games village.The monument, at the center of the complex, was built off of the Vastu Shastra and Pancharatra Shastra. The complex features a large central monument crafted entirely of stone, exhibitions on incidents from the life of Swaminarayan and the history of India, an IMAX feature, a musical fountain, and large landscaped gardens. The temple is named after a belief in Swaminarayan Hinduism.
The main monument, at the center of the complex, is 141-foot (43 m) high, 316-foot (96 m) wide, and 370-foot (110 m) long, and is covered top to bottom with carved details of flora, fauna, dancers, musicians, and deities.
Designed in accordance with ancient Vedic text known as the Sthapatya Shastra, it features a blend of architectural styles from across India. It is constructed entirely from Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble, and has no support from steel or concrete.The monument also consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, nine domes, and 20,000 murtis and statues of Hinduism’s sadhus, devotees, and acharyas. The monument also features the Gajendra Pith at its base, a plinth paying tribute to the elephant for its importance in Hindu culture and India’s history. It contains 148 scale sized elephants in total and weighs a total of 3000 tons.
Within the monument, under the central dome, lies a murti or statue of Swaminarayan which is 11-foot (3.4 m) high. The murti is surrounded by similar statues of the gurus of the sect. Each murti is made of paanch daatu or five metals in accordance to Hindu tradition. Also within the central monument lie the murtis of other Hindu deities, including Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati, and Lakshmi Narayan.
Known as the Yagnapurush Kund, it is India’s largest step well. It features a very large series of steps down to a traditional yagna kund. During the day, these steps provide rest for the visitors to the complex and at night, a musical fountain show representing the circle of life is played to an audience which is seated on the same steps. The fountain is named after the founder of the Hindu organization, Shastriji Maharaj.The fountain measures 300 feet (91 m) by 300 feet (91 m) with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its center lies an eight-petaled lotus shaped yagna kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Panchratra shastra.