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World's largest Hindu temple

BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham

BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham
BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham is a 100-acre Hindu temple complex in New Delhi, India. It aims to showcase Hinduism's ancient art, culture and spiritual heritage.

Since its opening in November 2005, Swaminarayan Akshardham has become a popular landmark of India's cultural and religious landscape, attracting more than five million visitors a year. It featured in the 2009 edition of the Guinness World Records book for being the largest Hindu temple in the world.

Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Largest Hindu temple in the world

Largest Hindu temple in the world
The central feature of the complex is the ornately hand-carved stone temple, or mandir. Built according to ancient Vedic texts, and measuring 356 ft (109 m) long, 316 ft (96 m) wide and 141 ft (43 m) high, it is the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple.

It was built within five years by 11,000 artisans and volunteers of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, an international socio-religious organisation.

Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Temple sanctum

Temple sanctum
Enshrined in the temple's inner sanctum is an 11 ft.-high gilded murti (sacred image) of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the deity to whom the temple and complex are dedicated. Other images include those of popular Hindu deities and spiritual leaders of the Swaminarayan tradition.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Interior carvings

Interior carvings
The temple is a fusion of pink sandstone on the outside and white marble on the inside, but with no structural steel used anywhere. The interior is filled with 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, and intricately designed ceilings. In total, there are more than 20,000 carved figures.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Exterior carvings

Exterior carvings
The outer wall of the temple is profusely covered with 200 stone figures of India's sages and intricate depictions of nature.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Elephant plinth

Elephant plinth
The temple stands on a 1,070 ft.-long plinth of 148 full-sized elephants carved entirely from stone. Together, they weigh 3,000 tonnes.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Stone colonnade

Stone colonnade
The temple and its surrounding area are garlanded by a 3,000 ft (214 m)-long two-tiered stone colonnade. It features 1,152 pillars, 145 windows and 154 cupolas.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Lotus garden

Lotus garden
Over 60 acres of the complex comprise various forms of landscaping. One part is the Lotus Garden, a lotus-shaped sunken garden with messages from great world thinkers sharing their faith in God and humanity.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Hall of Values

Hall of Values
A modern feature of the complex is a set of three exhibition pavilions. The first is a walk-through hall of dioramas with audio-animatronics and light-and-sound shows. Each show shares a message about charity, integrity, non-violence, and other values.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Giant-screen theatre

Giant-screen theatre
A large-format 40-minute film retraces the seven-year journey of Bhagwan Swaminarayan from his teenage years. He travelled alone and barefooted for more than 7,000 miles around India, into Nepal and Tibet, and through Myanmar and Bangladesh.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Indoor boat ride

Indoor boat ride
A 12-minute boat ride introduces visitors to India's ancient past. Traversing along an indoor river, visitors float by dioramas of a Vedic village and bazaar, the world's first university, and other historic re-creations.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Musical fountain show

Musical fountain show
Amid the three exhibition pavilions lies a 300 ft.-square step-well comprising 2,870 steps. From its centre rises a fountain in the shape of an ancient geometrical lotus-design. At night, the fountain comes alive with a colourful, musical show depicting the Hindu concept of interdependency between humans, nature and God.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

Vedic consecration

Vedic consecration
BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham was the vision and creation of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. He ceremoniously consecrated the temple and complex according to ancient Vedic rituals on 6 November 2005.


Photo © BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha

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