The temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi, was officially opened on 6 November 2005. It sits near the banks of the Yamuna adjacent to the 2010 Commonwealth Games village in eastern New Delhi. The temple, at the center of the complex, was built according to theVastu Shastra and Pancharatra Shastra. In addition to the large central temple crafted entirely of stone, the complex features exhibitions on incidents from the life of Swaminarayan and the history of India, an IMAX feature on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, Nilkanth, a musical fountain on the message of the Upanishads, and large landscaped gardens. The temple is named after a belief in Swaminarayan Hinduism
Gujarati: સ્વામિનારાયણ અક્ષરધામ,
Devnagari: स्वामिनारायण अक्षरधाम)
The cultural complex consist of the temple monument, gardens, educational centers, exhibitions and the research center spread across 23 acres.
The temple monument
The temple enshrining the 7-foot-high (2.1 m), gold-leafed Murti of 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 temple 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 temple 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.
Akshardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH) is a 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.
Hall 1: Sahajanand
The life of Swaminarayan is portrayed through imaginative settings and shows. The exhibition includes 'travel in time' through a video show; a fiber-optics cosmos; a miniature recreation of Chhapiya village; a 'Journey through India'; and three 'sound-n-light' shows.
Hall 2: Sat-Chit-Anand
This hall is used to present an IMAX large format film named Mystic India. Mystic India is the first large-format epic on India. Chronicling the incredible journey of Neelkanth, as Swaminarayan was known in his teenage years, through the heart and soul of India, it rediscovers a land enriched with an amazing wealth of wisdom, culture and spirituality. This film was produced by BAPS Charities and directed by well-known director of IMAX Movies, Keith Melton.
This hall once housed a spectacular 14-screen multimedia presentation, "Integrovision", to present an exposition of Vedic philosophy and of man's search for the eternal truth, through breath-taking imagery. Apart from the presentation, the exhibition also once included a 'Tunnel of Mirrors,' a glass mosaic and dancing musical fountains.sat chit-Anand show charge 75 RS/-
Hall 3: Nityanand
Walk-through dioramas and fiberglass figures display the message of the Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata. The exhibition includes an audio-animatronics show; a recreation of the Hastinapur palace from the Mahabharata; a recreation of an idyllic Gurukul nestled in the lap of nature; evotional compositions of saint-poets; and an exposition on 'Harmony of world religions.
Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show
A 45-minute show depicts the story of Nachiketa from the Kathopanishad. The show, the longest of its kind, features the use of 4,000 nozzles, 2,000 lights, over 100 pumps and 12 fireball throwers.
The Temple remains closed on Mondays.