BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham
BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham is a 100-acre Hindu temple complex in New Delhi, India. It aims to showcase Hinduism's ancient art, culture and spiritual heritage.
Since its opening in November 2005, Swaminarayan Akshardham has become a popular landmark of India's cultural and religious landscape, attracting more than five million visitors a year. It featured in the 2009 edition of the Guinness World Records book for being the largest Hindu temple in the world.
Over 60 acres of the complex comprise various forms of landscaping. One part is the Lotus Garden, a lotus-shaped sunken garden with messages from great world thinkers sharing their faith in God and humanity.
Largest Hindu temple in the world
The central feature of the complex is the ornately hand-carved stone temple, ormandir. Built according to ancient Vedic texts, and measuring 356 ft (109 m) long, 316 ft (96 m) wide and 141 ft (43 m) high, it is the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple.
It was built within five years by 11,000 artisans and volunteers of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, an international socio-religious organisation. ..
The outer wall of the temple is profusely covered with 200 stone figures of India's sages and intricate depictions of nature.
Enshrined in the temple's inner sanctum is an 11 ft.-high gilded murti (sacred image) of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the deity to whom the temple and complex are dedicated. Other images include those of popular Hindu deities and spiritual leaders of the Swaminarayan tradition.
The temple is a fusion of pink sandstone on the outside and white marble on the inside, but with no structural steel used anywhere. The interior is filled with 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, and intricately designed ceilings. In total, there are more than 20,000 carved figures.
The temple stands on a 1,070 ft..-long plinth of 148 full-sized elephants carved entirely from stone. Together, they weigh 3,000 tonnes.
The temple and its surrounding area are garlanded by a 3,000 ft (214 m)-long two-tiered stone colonnade. It features 1,152 pillars, 145 windows and 154 cupolas.