Peaceful and pollution free, Gandhinagar carries a relaxed atmosphere, that is further calmed by the majestic presence of Akshardham. It is a monument that is a major attraction for tourists. Akshardham is a temple dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan, an epoch maker who lived from 1781 to 1830.The magic of ancient wisdom and the best of world technology have come together to create a powerful experience of Indian culture in a twenty-three acre cultural complex. The temple is a poetry in stone, the sweat and sentiments of many hands and hearts.
Akshardham is built of pink stone from Rajasthan, it is an architectural marvel. Ever since its inauguration in 1992, thousands of tourists have visited this temple. A stone pathway leads to the main monument and the imposing central hall. A gold leaf covered idol of Lord Swaminarayan is installed in the central shrine. The hall also has marble idols of the spiritual successors of Swaminarayan. The temple has about 100 sculptured pillars, 200 windows, 17 domes, eight ornate balconies, and a large podium. Nowhere in the construction has iron or steel been used. From the foundation of the pinnacles, only stone has been used. To act as supports, stone beams seven-meters long, weighing about five tones each, have been used. All the pillars have been exquisitely sculptured with dancing figures of Ganapathi, the ten incarnations of Maha Vishnu, the sages of India, gods and goddesses.
The ground floor is a treasure house, containing rare objects related to the life of Lord Swaminarayan, like his clothes, footwear, and other personal belongings. There is also the original historic letter written by Swaminarayan. On the top floor is the graphic of some of his thoughts and personal traits. This is popularly called Vibhuti Mantapa. The next hall is called Akshardham Experience, which is a marvelous research work synthesizing the thoughts into a novel creation. It comprises five areas known as Sahaja Anand, Satchit Anand, Nitya Anand, Nija Anand, and Prema Anand.
Sahaja Ananda vana is a fifteen acre culture garden with fountains, rolling green lawns, trees, colorful flowers, a lake and waterfalls, an open air theater, a fun world for children and a herbal garden.
A tour of Gujarat is not complete without a visit to Akshardham, which is a monumental creation born out of selfless service and boundless devotion of continued effects of countless devotees.