Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

The Video Clip, a compleate introduction

The Basic Informations

When I was in Indin Istitute of Technology, New Delhi (IITD), with more than ample time to spare and running out of places to visit, I decided to include the much talked about, newest attraction of Delhi. With this is mind, hoped into an auto after taking a metro ride to Connaught Place, and it faithfully landed me right at the doorstep of the huge 'Temple Premises' (Working in Hitech City this is the easiest similie that came to my mind, need not be the best or the most appropriate). The Temple compound was almost immeasurably huge spread over 100 acres, much larger than the Infosys People Factories constructed across the country.

The first thing that crosses one's mind or rather that should cross the mind is the name of the mandir, Akshardham. The very sound of it proposes great meaning to the plenary nomenclature. Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in the Vedas and Upanishads where divine bhakti, purity and peace forever pervades. The entire tour of the mandir can be considered to consist of the following sub itenaries for every darshanarthee or devotee.
The magnificent Central Monument, other Monuments of religious importance, like the foot prints or the ten doors Hall of Values (Paid) – 45 mins, Audio Animatronics show IMAX Screen Film on Neelkanth (Paid) – 40 mins movie, Boat Ride through the Indian Heritage artifacts and models(Paid) – 12 mins.

The beautiful monument built without steel, consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities. The monument is a fusion of pink stone and pure white marble, where pink stone symbolizes bhakti in eternal bloom and white marble that of absolute purity and eternal peace.

Akshardham was created by HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in fulfillment to the wish of his guru, Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth successor in the spiritual hierarchy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. In only a short timespan of five years Swaminarayan Akshardham became a reality through the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, 300 million man hours of epic services rendered by 11,000 volunteers, sadhus and artisans and the immense sacrifice, austerities, prayers of hundreds of thousands of young and old devotees of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

The specifications of the monument are as follows
Height: 141.3 ft
Width: 316 ft
Length: 356 ft
The roof has intricate carvatures which have the power to mesmerize any roaming sight. There are many other splendid monuments like the fore mentioned. The star attraction of the whole tour however is the three paid audio visual shows, which are so superbly crafted that they take you to a different realm altogether, almost making you feel that you are transported to the time when Neelkanth quit his home in search of truth.

Hall of Values
Sahajanand Darshan
Audio Animatronics Show

Experience the timeless messages of Indian culture featured through the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The principle theme of sculpting one’s life for happiness, success and peace of mind is portrayed in this exhibition. The exhibits portray the messages of ahimsa, endeavor, prayer, morality, vegetarianism, family harmony, etc. through fifteen 3-D dioramas and presentations from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Exquisite settings and statues in each diorama are brought to life through robotics, fibre optics, light and sound effects, dialogues and music; transporting the audience to 18th century India. Unique 3-D dioramas and walk-through dioramas. Statues come to life through animatronic technology. A fresh experience, a new message and a novel presentation in every diorama.

Giant Screen Film
Neelkanth Darshan
85' X 65' Sc

Unique Features
A large format Epic on a scale never seen before. A period film that transports you back to 18th Century India. Experience India's intricate architecture, colorful festivals, traditional rituals, fascinating peoples and landscapes. A land of ancient civilization. An amazing true story that has the power to inspire millions across generations. 11-year-old child, 7 years, 8,000 miles, one incredible journey. Filmed in over 100 locations all over India, from the freezing Himalayas to the scorching deserts. A cast of 45,000.

About the Film

Mystic India rediscovers India, a land of many mysteries and fascinations, the one land that all desire to see. Home of the Himalayas, the tallest mountains, India is our world's largest and oldest democracy, and contains an amazing wealth of wisdom, culture and spirituality. And within this earliest civilization known to mankind, lie hidden mystical secrets. It lies hidden in India’s silent spirituality, making her a mystic land of meditation, contemplation and enlightenment. For thousands of years, many have willingly left the comforts of their home and family and set off across this spiritual land in search of these secrets. Their aim has been to reach a deeper understanding of existence and share the meaning of life that would elevate the rest of humanity. Of all such journeys, perhaps none is greater than the true story of an 11-year old child yogi, Neelkanth, who took an extraordinary journey through the wonders of mystic India. An adventure of hardships and survival, faith and fearlessness undertaken by a child. The only one of its kind in the history of mankind.

Film Synopsys

On June 29, 1792, Neelkanth begins his journey of awakening. Having resolved to embrace the challenges of nature, he leaves his home in the city of Ayodhya. Neelkanth walks alone into the cold stormy night, wearing nothing over his shoulders or under his feet, carrying nothing - no maps, no money, no food - except inner courage, confidence and a silent spiritual strength. At the Saryu River, he enters the cold, raging current. Neelkanth is swept away, leaving behind all that was familiar. Neelkanth's footprints begin to map the length and breadth of India - its dense jungles, fertile plains, majestic mountains, mighty rivers, and peaceful coastlines. Flourishing for more than 8,000 years, this land has been home to an ancient and highly advanced civilization.


Neelkanth's walk would last for 7 years, 12,000 kilometers, covering every corner of India. On the banks of the Ganges, Neelkanth takes part in the Harki Pedhi Arti (The Ceremony of Lamps) at Haridwar. For thousands of years, Hindus have gathered here to pay their respects to India's most sacred river. A priest notices Neelkanth in the distance and desires to meet him. Neelkanth poses a riddle to the priest, "Iron sinks, but wood floats. What should iron do to keep from sinking?" No matter how long it takes, the priest promises himself to find the answer. Continuing his way north, Neelkanth climbs his way to the mountain village of Sripur, famous for its grand shrine, Kamleshwar Muth. The mahant (chief priest) notices Neelkanth resting under a nearby tree. He warns Neelkanth of the man-eating lion terrorizing the village and invites Neelkanth to stay in the Muth. Neelkanth asks, "Can your doors stop death?" As night falls, the doors of every home are tightly fastened. It is well past midnight and a chilling roar shatters the eerie silence. A lion charges through the grass spotting Neelkanth. They meet face to face. The Mahant, fearful for the young child, looks out his window and sees a strange and unbelievable sight; the ferocious lion is humbly lying by the feet of Neelkanth. The next morning, as Neelkanth leaves, the grateful faces of villagers surround him. Hosting a diversity of faces, India is home to a colorful mixture of people. Neelkanth introduces us to the faces of India. Home to 18 different languages and 850 dialects, India is the envy of the world; no other country, even continent, has so many different people living and working together.

Continuing into the Himalayas, Neelkanth makes his way to Badrinath Temple. Standing at 11,300 feet, Badrinath is one of India's most revered temples. For six months of the year, the temple closes during the deadly cold winter. A procession begins its journey down from the mountains to warmer temperatures and safety. A priest meets Neelkanth on the steps of the temple and invites Neelkanth to join him, but Neelkanth says, "I am not going down, I am going up…to Lake Mansarovar." The priest cannot believe what he has just heard. He says "At this time of year…you'll face blizzards and avalanches. You'll never survive." Neelkanth smiles and walks down the steps, leaving the priest to wonder why such a young child would risk his life in the mountains. For six months, in the freezing temperatures with no shelter, Neelkanth treks through the Himalayas, home to 92 of the 94 tallest peaks in the world. Crossing a pass at 18,000 feet, Neelkanth reaches the sacred peak of Mt. Kailash, and the holy shores of Mansarovar, the source of four of India's mighty rivers - Indus, Brahmaputra, Karnali and Sutlej. With no guide or maps, Neelkanth negotiates through the deepest gorge in the world cut by the Kali Gandki between Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri in the Annapurna Mountain range. Eventually, he reaches Muktinath at 12,500 feet, where an ancient temple of Lord Vishnu gloriously stands to this day, encircled by 108 waterspouts. Here he undertakes a journey without motion, a journey within. Performing severe austerities in a rare yogic posture, months turn to seasons, seasons turn to years, and Neelkanth grows older and wiser. Descending the mountains, it has been 5 years since Neelkanth has left his home. From the peaceful villages to the mountain peaks, Neelkanth leads us through a land ornamented with grand monuments, palaces, and relics of stone. We explore Indian architecture and its paradise of styles, forms and shapes. Neelkanth's route leads him through the rainforests of Assam, the jungles of Sunderbans and to the shores of Jagannath Puri. The annual Rath Yatra (Festival of Chariots) is celebrated here.

Every year, for thousands of years, millions of pilgrims flock here to pull the chariot of Lord Jagannath. Raja Mukund Dev, King of Jagannath Puri, invites Neelkanth to celebrate Rath Yatra. A conch shell blows and the boisterous clanging of plates deafens us. Directly ahead, we see Neelkanth sitting on a colossal chariot and the king standing by his side. Hundreds are pulling the chariot with four massive ropes. Pilgrims are cheering, singing, dancing, and throwing vermillion into the air. The huge wheels of the chariot fill our vision. We float above and let the Rath pass beneath to reveal an awesome sight of thousands. A sea of colors shines below. This festival is just one of many festivals of India. They are expressions of joy for many occasions - be it the birth of a child, the changing of the seasons, or the New Year. A wide spectrum of colors, costumes and customs are portrayed in the festivals of India. Viewers are immersed in some of the greatest festivals of India; from the lights of Diwali to the colors of Holi. Following the eastern coastline, Neelkanth arrives in South India at the ancient Rameshwaram Temple. Built in the 12th century, the Rameshwaram temple has 1,212 pillars and India's longest stone corridor stretching 1.2 kilometers. This temple is one of the most important pilgrimage places in all of India. At each of the 22 wells, people bathe as a purification rite. Standing by one of these wells, Neelkanth is pleased to find the priest he met in Haridwar five years back. The priest has found the answer to Neelkanth's riddle, "If iron attaches itself to wood, iron too can float. We are the iron ring. Enlightened persons like you are the wood." Pleased with the priest's response, Neelkanth explains that the association of an enlightened person keeps our weaknesses from drowning us in the ocean of life.

For the next two years, Neelkanth travels from the temple towns of South India, through the backwaters of Kerala and ends his journey in the village Loj in Gujarat. In the villages of India, where to this day 80% of all Indians live, it is a tradition to welcome visitors like gods. A giant banyan tree hangs over Loj. Under this tree, villagers often gather for discussions. Neelkanth learns of a great saint and teacher Ramanand Swami in one of these gatherings. Delighted to hear such news, Neelkanth waits for him in his ashram. While at the ashram Neelkanth, who conquered the challenges of nature, sweeps the floors. Having mastered all the disciplines of yoga by the age of 14, Neelkanth shares his knowledge with others. Neelkanth and Ramanand Swami meet on a riverbank. Ramanandji says, "Now that you have arrived, lead the people because you are the true master." But Neelkanth prefers the silence of the mountains. Ramanand Swami encourages Neelkanth and says, "Awakening was your aim and shall continue to be so. Your footprints in the sands of time will light up the path for seekers of courage, confidence, love, truth, and tolerance."Neelkanth grows older to become one of the greatest spiritual leaders of India. His lessons continue to inspire millions. His vision, work, and wisdom echoes the essence of Indian culture - its unity in diversity. This is the greatest gift India can offer the world.

From 1792 to 1799, Neelkanth walked alone, barefoot and barebody, 8000 miles for 7 years through the length and breadth of India. Carrying no maps, no food and no clothing, how he crossed the roaring rivers, faced ferocious animals and survived the freezing winter of the Himalayas, is still a mystery. It is a story of struggle, of kindness and of courage even when face to face with a man-eating lion. Mystic India takes you through icy peaks to the cool blue Lake Mansarovar, into the wild jungles of Sunderbans and the rainforests of Assam, through barren deserts and to the silent shores of South India. Explore and learn from the majesty and mysticism of India's art and architecture, music and dance, faces and festivals, customs and costumes which are brought to life on the giant screen. This entertaining, educating and enlightening giant screen film (15perf/70mm) rediscovers India, a land of many mysteries and fascinations. It is the world’s first large format epic on India.

A period film set 200 years back in time, it retraces the incredible journey of an 11-year old child yogi, Neelkanth. In 1792 AD, he walked for 12,000 km continuously for 7 years, barefoot and barebody, through the length and breadth of India, from the Himalayas to the southern sea-shores. Based on this inspiring true-life story and journey all over India, the film explores unique elements of India, like: Amazing and intricate art and architecture, symbolizing creativity of centuries… Fascinating festivals, among the largest and most spectacular in the world. Colorful customs and intriguing rites and rituals with deeper meanings for peaceful living… India as an epitome of the world with its natural and geographical diversity containing nearly every kind of habitat on earth. World’s oldest and largest democracy with one of the world’s most diverse peoples living together, with every shade of skin and a vast variety of cultures. India’s contribution to the world including concepts like Non-Violence and practices like Yoga and Ayurveda for natural health… A nation of silent spirituality, making her a mystic land of meditation and contemplation, where quest continues to understand secrets of life beyond our material world.

The real light and wisdom of India, seeking to know not how to conquer the world but how to live in peace, how to live together in harmony. The essence and message of “Mystic India” that there can be Unity in Diversity, that we are a single human family, capable of living together, loving one another. Thus, more than just a breathtaking journey, and the heroic tales of the child’s tolerance and survival, his values of faith, friendship and fearlessness, the film presents a unique journey into the mind and soul of India through the eyes of an innocent child.

Over two shooting schedules in March - May 2003 and Jan-Feb 2004, the Mystic India production team traveled to more than 100 different film locations in India, at times shooting in hostile conditions at a height of 13,000 feet, re-creating the adventures of Neelkanth in the astonishing detail of large format. Capturing dazzling images and scenes on a scale never seen before in large format, this film transports the audience to some of India's most sacred and treasured destinations. The epic proportions of the film climax in the Rath Yatra (The Festival of Chariots). Colossal, 5-storey high chariots on mammoth wheels roll past 8,000 people in period dress of the 18th century from all corners of India. The experience is immense and intense. And what makes the film unique and educative are the questions it answers about India, her culture and way of life. Even the silent, meditative moods transmit the simple messages of love, service and harmony; unraveling India's greatest gift to the world, its unity in diversity.Mystic India is an epic journey into the land and soul of India.

An epic period film featuring an exciting and inspiring pilgrimage of Neelkanth Varni, a child-yogi, of 18th century India. This unique period film, Neelkanth Darshan, was shot in the icy peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the pristine shores of Kerala in the south. The large format film depicts India’s holy places, festivals and spiritual traditions on a giant screen that is over six stories high. Neelkanth Darshan is the first ever wide format film filmed in India and produced by an Indian organisation. The international large format version of Neelkanth Darshan film is Mystic India. Filmed in 108 locations of India with 30 giant settings 45,000 cast in colourful costumes. A vivid experience of 18th century India presented on a giant screen. Giant screen: 85' x 65' ft

A beautiful 27 ft. high bronze murti of Neelkanth Varni stands in a
determined pose outside the large format film theater.
Boat ride

Sanskruti Vihar India's Glorious Heritage

A 12-minute spectacular boat-ride experience of the 10,000 year old India’s glorious heritage. Savor the world’s oldest Vedic village life and bazaar Sail through Takshashila – the world’s first university Journey through the labyrinth of ancient discoveries and inventions by the great rishi-scientists of India


Musical Fountain
Yagnapurush Kund

The fascinating web of life on earth is intricate, precise and beautiful. Its fragile network shows an uncompromising interdependency between man, nature and God. Therefore what we receive for sustenance by way of earth, water, fire, air and space, we need to repay and sacrifice with body, mind and heart. To fulfil this function in life, India’s great sages and rishis established the yagna tradition. They chanted mantras, offered grains and ghee in a sacrificial fire (yagna kund) to appease the deities of earth, water, fire, air, etc. Yagna means to sacrifice or generously give in appreciation to others. The Yagnapurush Kund is a fascinating combination of a Vedic yagna kund and a musical fountain. It is the world's largest yagna kund measuring 300' X 300' with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its center lies an 8-petaled lotus shaped yagna kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Panchratra scripture. Its perfect geometric forms testify to ancient India's advanced knowledge in mathematics and geometry. At night the center comes to life with a colorful musical water fountain that echoes the Vedic sentiments of India. Yagnapurush Kund has been so named after the founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and the third successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Swami Yagnapurushdasji (Brahmaswarup Shastriji Maharaj).

Garden of India
Bharat Upvan Through the millenniums people have always looked up to role models for inspiration, guidance, peace and courage. Their sterling lives radiate a perennial glow for the whole of mankind, regardless of all human, geographical and cultural distinctions.India, which has the most ancient civilisation in the world, that hosts one sixth of humanity and has the largest democracy in the world, has produced from its vast cultural matrix a legion of role models for the world to emulate.

Bharat Upvan exudes a magnificent natural and cultural ambience through its manicured lawns, lush gardens and wonderful bronze statues of the great role models of India. India's child gems, valorous warriors, freedom fighters, national figures and great women personalities inspire visitors with values and pride for our great nation.

This is a special lotus of auspicious sentiments.
Yogiji Maharaj, the who dreamed of Akshardham, always prayed, “May God do good of all.” He had infinite faith in God and man.Every petal of Yogihriday Kamal reflects the auspicious sentiments of Yogiji Maharaj.

Ever since time immemorial great thinkers, scientists, writers, international personalities, saints and sages from every corner of our earth have expressed their prolific faith in the religious scriptures, God and man. Here, every petal inspires with messages from internationally renowned personages about faith in God and faith in man.An iota of this faith canTransform the face of our world,And also one’s own life.

Important Informations

Address - Near Nizamuddin Bridge
City - New Delhi
State - Delhi
Location - North India
Year of Construction - 2005
Constructed By - BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha
Type of Construction - Medieval
Type of Building - Temple
Managed By - Swaminarayan Sect
Dedicated To - Swaminarayan
Other Deities - Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Sita Ram, Shri Laxmi Narayan, Shri Uma Maheshwar
Religion - Hinduism
Importance - The sprawling Rs.200-crore pink sandstone cultural complex spread over 100 acres showcases the grandeur of Indian history, art, culture and values.

Opening Schedule - 9AM - 9PM (Tuesday-Sunday). Closed on Monday.

Entry Formalities - Only small female purses or male wallets allowed . Cell phones and other electronic devices are prohibited. Entry to the complex is free. But for exhibitions and light and sound show inside the complex, one has to take tickets.

Accomodation - Available at the nearby hotels and lodges in New Delhi.

Accesibility - New Delhi is very well connected to the major Indian cities by air, rail and road.

Nearby Cities - Ghaziabad, Noida,Faridabad and Gurgaon.

Inauguration: 6-11-2005, Kartik Shukla Panchmi, Labh Pancham, V.S. 2062Organizer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. Creator: HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj