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Saturday, November 17, 2012
Sacret Places In India : Swaminarayan Akshardham, Delhi, India • 360° Aerial Panorama
Speaking of Delhi landmarks, one would traditionally mention Red Fort, Qutub Minar, and India Gate on Kingsway. So how come Swaminarayan Akshardham (which means "temple of the God"), a magnificent and beautiful temple, is not so famous? The answer is simple: it is very "young".
It was opened in 2005. The construction took over 5 years and involved 7 thousand artisans and 3 thousand construction workers from all over India. Their combined efforts gave birth to a building 42 meters high, 94 meters wide, and 106 meters long. The structure of Akshardham consists of 234 pillars, 9 shiny domes, 20 four-sided towers, and over 20 thousand figurines depicting themes from Indian mythology. There are over 148 statues of an elephant alone!
All the facing was done by hand. Outer surface of the temple is faced with pink sandstone, while the inner surface is faced with white marble. In India, pink color symbolizes love for God, and white color symbolizes absolute purity and peace.
Thanks to its enormous size the temple is included in the Guinness Book of World Records. The temple complex takes up 12 hectares of land and includes the temple itself, several parks, a museum, a large cultural center where one can learn about Indian traditions and customs, water canals, which you can traverse by boats, and lots of cafes and souvenir shops.
Every evening there is a laser show with dancing fountains on Swaminarayan Akshardham grounds. The fountains are built in the form of a lotus placed inside a large bowl-shaped basin. The inner side of the basin serves as steps and benches for thousands of viewers.
Construction of this beautiful site was funded by donations and done through a spirit of volunterism. In order to fill in all man-made lakes and canals surrounding the temple required huge supply of water from 151 ponds around the country. In a country, where clean water is as precious as gold, it was quite a generous donation as well.