Monday, July 6, 2009

Visit to Swaminarayan Akshardham Delhi - exciting and enjoyable








When I planned a trip to Delhi, one of my relatives insisted (yes, he was very particular or rather forced me) me to visit Akshardham without fail. After visiting only I came to know why he was so particular about this and thanked him a lot for this when I came back after this visit. It was so amazing, exiting and an enjoyable experience.

How did I reach there?
In New Delhi, we stayed in Ginger Hotel ( near Ajmere gate of New Delhi railway station - very good hotel priced reasonably- I will write an exclusive post about this later) and took a taxi to this place (Rs.250 for non AC and 350 for AC taxi) and reached within 20 minutes. While coming we came by auto at the cost of Rs.120/= . This complex is situated in East Delhi and not far away from the city. (Tel: 011 2201 6688, 2202 6688)


How much time one need to spend there?
It took 6 hours for us to spend time there and we enjoyed the whole ambiance in a leisurely manner. We started by 10:30 morning and came back by 4:30 evening. But, unfortunately we missed the musical fountain in the evening as we had to catch the train to Chennai the same night. It is suggested that you allot one full day so that you can enjoy the garden visit, exhibitions and monument visit and musical fountain in the evening and night.

What is Akshardham?
It is a cultural complex and an abode of Bhagwan swaminathan on the banks of Yamuna river opened in 2005 after spending 300 million man hours. The stones were sculptured at different parts of India as a parallel process and later on assembled at New Delhi; otherwise it would have taken 50 years! An example of efficient project management technique!

Entrance gates:
Apart from the main gate that we enter after security check, there are aesthetically designed ten gates inside the complex representing the freedom of thoughts and leading the visitors to the amazing world of temples, gardens and entertainments and exhibitions.
Bhakthi Dwar is the gate of Devotion that exhibits the traditional sculptures as a symbol of devotion; Mayur Dwar is enriched with lot of peacock sculptures.

The main Akshardham Monument:
The monument of Swaminarayan Akshardham is a magnificent structure at the centre of the complex surrounded by holy water called Narayan sarovar. The bottom of the monument's exterior wall is carrying lot of images of Gajendra (elephants) in different forms and the top is decorated by traditional domes and flag at the top. The 148 stone elephants in different shapes and styles called 'Gajendra Peeth' are really worth watching.
Since maintenance work was going on during our visit (last week of June 09) we could not get opportunity to visit inside the temple, where a prayer hall and the idols of God are housed. The maintenance work is expected to be completed after 2 more months.

Exhibitions:
The exhibitions are the most entertaining part of the whole journey inside the complex. The three types of exhibitions are far above the world standards and one has to really experience this to feel its worth. They are performed inside a well managed AC halls with artificially developed ambiances like blue sky, night sky, huge artificial real - life size tress and huts. ( Since visited the temple on the hottest day of summer, the AC halls with huge entertainment items were like heaven to us!) I recommend you strongly that you should not miss this when you go inside. The timings are so convenient that you can join the show in a gap of ten minutes and keep going on until you finish all the three. In between the three shows, you may visit the small refreshment stall to quench your thirst. But you are not allowed to carry anything, even water inside the auditorium. The water bottles would be collected at the gate, numbered and given back to you when you come out.
1. Hall of values -the human values like ahimsa and courage narrated by robotic animated images
2. Neelkanta Yatra - a huge size , giant screen award winning film about the 11 year old child yogi's travel across India
3. Educational boat ride that takes us along an artificial river surrounded by sculptures, dolls etc with lighting and sound effects depicting 10000 years Indian culture and history
Cultural garden:
A walk in the lush green largest garden with statues of historic heroes and freedom fighters is so enjoyable.
Food for your stomach also:
You can relax and enjoy good snacks - crisp dosas and soft idlies of South Indian or Gujarathi kitchdies or hot puris at Premvati Restaurant inside the complex near the Lotus shaped arena after crossing the exhibition halls.
Security Information:
Please note that for we not allowed take cell phone, camera, video camera or any other electronic items or big bags inside the complex. They have to deposited in the cloak room. Visitors have to pass through strict security check . However we can get professionally photographed inside the complex, by the authorised photographers arranged by the temple authorities.

Timings:
The complex is closed on Mondays.
Timings on other days: Opening 9:00 AM Entry closing time 7:00 Pm (April to September) 6:00 PM (October to march)
There is a musical fountain show in the evening 7:30 Pm (April to September) and 6:45 Pm (October to march)
A matter for wallet:
The entry to Akshardham is free.
The cost for the three exhibitions - Rs.125 for adults, 75 for senior citizens and free for children below 4 years
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Information and the photo courtesy - A Book published by Akshardham authorities at the cost of Rs.50/= available inside the complex.





4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience :)

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  2. Good info. think very much useful for our visit on 14th of this oct. thanks a lot

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Wish you a happy journey...

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  3. Thank you for sharing your detailed experience as it gives a decent idea about the spectacular temple!

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