Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Swaminarayan Akshardham, ‘The Seven Wonders of the 21st Century’

The highlight of my trip was the breathtaking art and architecture of the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple complex in New Delhi.

In its July 2011 UK edition (pp. 46-57), the Reader’s Digest monthly magazine has selected Swaminarayan Akshardham as one of ‘The Seven Wonders of the 21st Century’. The 100-acre Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was completed in only five years by 11,000 artisans. The main Mandir is built predominantly of Rajasthani pink sandstone and contains no steel in its structure. It is 141 ft high, 316 ft wide and 356 ft long and features superb intricately hand sculpted stones. It also has a water fountain show in the evening set to melodious Indian music

According to the Reader’s Digest, on p. 52, "The Taj Mahal used to be the undisputed champion of India architecture, but a new contender has now stepped into the ring: Akshardham Temple. The biggest Hindu temple in the world, it was completed in 2005 and houses 234 hand-carved pillars, a 12-minute indoor boat ride, an Imax cinema and more than 20,000 statues including 148 life-sized stone elephants.”