Akshardam. No, that’s not a Hindi expletive. It’s a monument in Delhi which opened on November 6, 2006. So new, that’s it not yet listed in the guidebooks. We found out about it through our friends in Bangalore.
The monument was built in honor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. In 1781, at age 11, he left home and traveled throughout India for seven years before settling in an ashram in Gujarat. Along the way, he taught a message of peace, love and non-violence. His philosophies are still followed today and through the support of BAPS (a self-described socio-spiritual organization), Akshardham was created.
It took just five years to build this incredible monument built in sandstone and marble. The creation of it required 11,000 artisans and volunteers and was designed to epitomize Indian culture. It includes many different traditions and styles of architecture including a series of near life size carved elephants that surround the base of the monument.
There is no entrance fee (a rarity in India) but there’s a nominal charge to see the animatronic show, an Imax film and partake in short boat ride.
Unfortunately, no photos are allowed by visitors but we did get our picture taken by an official photographer!
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