India’s Most Beautiful Temple

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AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE

India's most beautiful temple

Located in New Delhi, on the banks of the Yamuna River, is Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, India’s most beautiful Temple. It’s beauty is mesmerising. One of the most unique structures in the world, it is also the largest Hindu Temple in the world. Therefore, you must visit this spectacular Indian monument and cultural estate. I consider it to be one of the highlights of Delhi.

India's most beautiful temple
photo credit

Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830 Common Era) is the inspirational and spiritual leader whom the Temple honours. He was instrumental in making huge changes in Indian society, relating to social reforms, the poor and helping to advance women, amongst many other things.

The structure

Opened in 2005, it took 5 years to complete the build, with over 10,000 workers contributing to the enormous task. The site spans 100 acres of land.

It’s a modern-age construction, but built in traditional Hindu architectural style, with an ancient appearance.

The whole structure is made of pink Indian sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. It is absolutely magnificent and I couldn’t stop looking at the amount of detail in the intricate carvings of the statues which adorn the whole exterior, from top to bottom.

An enormous amount of work by the craftsmen has gone into this impressive monument. The Temple is decorated in elaborate sandstone carvings of some 20,000 deities and mythical creatures. Furthermore, life-sized elephant carvings surround the outside, all the way around. They are gorgeous.

Outside in the grounds there is a huge set of marble footprints inside a water fountain, symbolising the holy man’s mark on the world.

The interior

When you enter up the main steps, the interior of the main Temple is even more luxurious, with intricate gold embellishments.

The guru’s gigantic gold statue adorns the centre of the shrine. You certainly won’t miss it. He sits at several metres tall and is aided by his spiritual gurus around him. It is stunning and a feast for the eyes. You need to take your time here to appreciate the magnificent detailed artwork.

India's most beautiful temple
Inside Akshardham Temple – photo credit
India's most beautiful temple
The main dome inside – photo credit

A huge central dome stretches 43 metres high, and there are several other domes of varying sizes.

India's most beautiful temple
photo credit

The complex was designed to become a landmark of India, a recognisable monument the world over. I’m sure it will achieve that aim in the near future, judging by the popularity of the place already.

Things to do here

This Temple is so much more than just a place of worship. There is a lot of fun family friendly things to enjoy.

  • A spectacular musical fountain and light show is held in the evenings at sunset outdoors, which includes lasers and video projections on the building. It is one of the main attractions here, without a doubt. You have to buy tickets for the show, which lasts 25 minutes.
India's most beautiful temple
Show spectacular – photo credit
India's most beautiful temple
Light fountain – photo credit
  • An IMAX film theatre shows a 45 minute film on the life and pilgrimage of the leader through India, with breathtaking views of the Himalayas. You have to buy tickets for the film.
  • You can take a short boat ride inside the grounds of the temple depicting the journey of the master and includes robots. Perfect for children. You also buy tickets for the ride.
  • Peruse the exhibition hall about the history of the temple and the sacred teachings. This area is free.
  • Stroll around the lovely landscaped gardens which showcase bronze statues of important heroes, male and female, of Indian history, such as Mahatma Gandhi. The gardens are free also.

Like no other Temple

It really is like an entertainment venue. It’s more of a theme park than a place of worship. In fact, that was the intention of the designers of this Temple – to make it something special, like no any other Temple in the world. I think they have succeeded.

India’s most beautiful Temple is a huge attraction for families and people of all ages, not only to pray, but also as a social outing, a date place for young couples, and a tourist destination.

Bus loads of people descended on the site when I was there, from all over the country, to visit and bask in the festive atmosphere. I was overwhelmed by the crowds arriving to visit a temple! I’ve never seen anything like it.

Security

We were guided in an orderly fashion through the aisles and security checkpoints, with separate lanes for females and males, as is common practice in India. I have to say, I’m not a fan of being left on my own in a long queue of foreigners. Males had to remove belts, females had small purses checked. It’s no surprise the enormous crowds require airport-style security.

General details

  • The Temple is open everyday, except Mondays.
  • Everyone is welcome, from any religion. However, I noticed there weren’t many Westerners there when I visited, only a few.
  • Wear conservative clothing, covering upper arms and upper legs. Many of the locals dress-up in their best Indian attire, be-jewelled and be-dazzled.
  • You must remove shoes before entering the shrine, and you can leave them at the ‘shoe counters’ with a number given to you.
  • Check the website for times of shows, as they vary.
  • Entrance to the complex is free, but you must pay to see the shows.
  • Plenty of parking is available for a fee.
  • You are not allowed to bring much into the complex – no bags, no cameras, no phones, no drink or food – only a wallet or small purse, passport and not much else, are allowed through the check points.
  • There is an outdoor food court selling vegetarian food only.
  • A souvenir shop is here, of course, where you can buy all manner of memorabilia, natural health products and more.

Photography

Being unable to take photos here was a real disappointment for me, as it’s such a beautiful Temple.

I have been to other Hindu Temples and have been allowed to take photos. For example, the Batu Caves Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The only photos I did manage to take of Akshardham Temple are of the exterior from quite a fair distance away, which I was not happy with at all.

However, there are professional photographers set up on the premises for you to have your photo taken with the shrine in the background, and purchase if you wish.


Snazzy Tip: Best time to visit the temple is late afternoon, so you have time to stroll around the complex, then see the light show in the early evening. Allow 2-3 hours.

India's most beautiful temple
India's most beautiful temple
India's most beautiful temple
Main temple lit up at night – photo credit

Take a tour to appreciate this magnificent Temple

Have you seen India’s most beautiful Temple? What do you think of it? Leave me a comment below.

Thank you.

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14 thoughts on “India’s Most Beautiful Temple

  1. I mean… they have a lot of temples in India but I think you did manage to find the most beautiful for sure! The colours of the stone and the details of the design are so beautiful. It sounds like a mixed experience in a way with the shows but at the same time kind of serine without phones, though I have to admit that not being able to take photos would really bother me!!

  2. Looks amazing and I’ve never even heard of it. I always hate when you can’t take photos, so frustrating! Will keep this place in mind my next trip to India.

  3. What a gorgeous temple! I had no idea that temples could also be entertainment venues. I think it makes me a bit sad that there needs to be an iMAX theatre there, even though I am sure the film is marvellous. I too would be disappointed that there was no photography allowed, I think I will have to check out Akshardham Temple!

  4. I now understand why it took 10,000 people to build this massive temple over 100 acres of land. It’s beautiful and the details are just incredible and oh so pretty. Especially the dome, I can only imagine what it must be like to look up and see it first hand. It’s a great tip to go in the late afternoon, so that you can take advantage of the late afternoon sun and also the lively vibe as you described outside. I would love to try some of their vegetarian dishes as well.

  5. On our trip to India, we did not spent enough time in Delhi. We certainly missed the gem that is the Akshardham Temple. The Carrara marble and 20,000 deities and mythical creatures would make it a stunning sight. Intricate ceilings and domes would strain my neck from gazing upwards. And a night light spectacle too. All great reasons to visit Akshardham Temple.

  6. I hadn’t heard about this temple so close to New Delhi. No wonder that Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is considered one of India’s most beautiful temples – it definitely looks like an incredible place. We would love to attend the musical fountain and light show. I have been a couple and there is always something magical about them.

  7. That is a shame about photos. I understand in some flash photography could be detrimental to delicate frescoes etc but I’m not sure that would apply here? Sadly I think the Insta crowd have ruined it for many.
    It certainly is an impressive temple and one I wish we had seen on our visit to Delhi.

  8. I love that you added photography, security, and info details in this post– gives us readers so much information! great job!

  9. I seriously learned so much in this post– great info! Your photos have me wanting to trot off to India asap!

  10. I’d never heard of this temple before, and am headed to India in the spring. I will definitely visit Akshardham Temple when I arrive in Delhi. Last time I was in India I was also disappointed that you can’t take photos every, but it is nice to visit a place without everyone around you having their phones out and pushing to get a picture haha.

  11. No doubt its one of the most beautiful temples in India and the best part about it is they don’t allow cellphones. Sometime away from the world for you .

  12. Wow, this temple looks absolutely beautiful. I haven’t heard of it before, so it’s good to know it’s one of your highlights. I’d definitely want to do the boat ride and night light show. How magnificent to see a modern construction in ancient design.

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