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President to inaugurate Akshardham temple today

Staff Reporter

Prime Minister to attend function; temple to be thrown open to public from Tuesday


  • The Rs.200-crore cultural complex is spread over 100 acres
  • The main monument is 141 feet high
  • There are three exhibition halls



    ANOTHER LANDMARK: A view of the illuminated Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple which will be inaugurated by President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

    NEW DELHI: Slated to become one of North India's major tourist attractions, the grand new Swaminarayan Akshardham temple on the banks of the Yamuna near Noida Mor in East Delhi will be inaugurated by President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam this Sunday evening in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam (BAPS) Sanstha.

    The Rs.200-crore pink sandstone cultural complex spread over 100 acres showcases the grandeur of Indian history, art, culture and values and will be thrown open to the public from Tuesday, November 8, from 12 noon to 6 p.m. The timings will be extended from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from November 15. Designed by architect Virendra Sompura and conceptualised by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, it took over 7,000 master craftsmen and thousands of volunteers from all over the world almost five years to complete the marvel.

    Double-storied parikrama

    The main monument, depicting ancient Indian "vastu shastra" and architecture, is a marvel in pink sandstone and white marble that is 141 feet high, 316 feet wide and 370 feet long with 234 ornate pillars, over 20,000 sculptures and statues of deities, eleven 72-foot-high huge domes (mandapams) and decorative arches. And like a necklace, a double-storied parikrama of red sandstone encircles the monuments with over 155 small domes and 1,160 pillars. The whole monument rises on the shoulders of 148 huge elephants with 11-feet tall panchdhatu statue of Swaminarayan presiding over the structure.

    The other attractions of the complex are three exhibition halls spaced around two huge ponds, where one is a venue for light-and-sound show. The three halls are "Sahajanand Darshan", "Neelkanth Darsdhan" and "Sanskruti Vihar". "Sahajanand Darshan" is where life of Swaminarayan is displayed through robotic shows, while "Neelkanth Darsdhan" has a huge I-Max theatre screening movie based on the life of the Lord. Another amazing presentation is "Sanskruti Vihar" with 12-minute boat ride experience of India's glorious heritage.

    For visitors, entry to the complex is free. However, those who want to visit exhibition halls and theatres, Rs.125 is to be paid and for children and senior citizens the charges are Rs.75. "Over 6,000 visitors could easily witness the shows and enjoy boat-rides everyday, while over 25,000 people can visit the temple. We have deployed almost 140 guides who will facilitate visitors during their visit. It requires at least four hours to visit the entire complex thoroughly and see all the shows," said a temple management committee member, adding that the opening ceremony would be telecast live on Aastha channel. Elaborate security arrangements have also been made for the entire complex. Besides installing close circuit television cameras it has also deployed hundreds of its own security personnel.

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