Swaminarayan Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Inaugurated in November 2005 by the President of India, Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minisiter, Manmohan Singh, and the leader of the organisation responsible for the creation of Akshardham, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, this complex has already attracted tens of thousands of visitors from all over the globe.
The main building at the centre of the complex houses an 11ft high, gilded image of Swaminarayan, a 17th century reformer whose followers believe to be an incarnation of God. The building itself is built of Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. At 141 ft high, its impressive presence is felt from afar, and its carved details of flora, fauna, dancers, musicians and Gods covering its surfaces from top to bottom, leave most visitors in awe. Akshardham Delhi is the biggest hand carved structure in the world, today.
Akshardham Gandhinagar in the North Western state of Gujarat is the sister complex to the one in Delhi. Opened amidst great fanfare in 1992, Akshardham Gandhinagar comprises of a monument to Swaminarayan, exhibition halls, a vast colonnade, contemplative gardens, and a restaurant, much like its sister in New Delhi.
Akshardham has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world, including the likes of Bill Clinton who commented "Akshardham is not only a unique place in India but in the whole world. It is even more beautiful than what I had imagined. Taj Mahal is definitely beautiful, but this place, along with beauty, has a beautiful message."
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