Akshardham Temple in New Delhi, India, is the world’s largest Hindu temple. It’s constructed according to ancient Hindu architectural principles from pink sandstone and marble with no steel or concrete. Approaching the temple it rises to the sky like something out of the Game of Thrones.
Although hardly unknown, tourist guides typically don’t give it pride of place because it isn’t old, having opened in 2005 after just five years (!) of construction. My view, however, is that in 500 years people will flock to this site and marvel at how it was made without use of any robots. So why wait when you can see it now while it is still fresh. The Taj Mahal was new once, but that shouldn’t have deterred people from seeing it at the time.
[To make time, skip the Red Fort in Delhi as Agra Fort next to the Taj is similar to the Red Fort but better.]
The temple features beautiful carvings from thousands of artists but unfortunately, photography is not allowed. (The pictures I found were online). The elephants shown below are modelled on similar designs but at much smaller scale at ancient Hindu temples.
The site is easy to get to and there is no entrance fee. A small fee covers an Imax movie and a boat ride featuring Hindu history.
Akshardam was built by the Hindu organization BAPS:
Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a socio-spiritual Hindu organization with its roots in the Vedas. It was revealed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan (1781-1830) in the late 18th century and established in 1907 by Shastriji Maharaj (1865-1951). Founded on the pillars of practical spirituality, the BAPS reaches out far and wide to address the spiritual, moral and social challenges and issues we face in our world. Its strength lies in the purity of its nature and purpose. BAPS strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. Its universal work through a worldwide network of over 3,850 centers has received many national and international awards and affiliation with the United Nations. Today, a million or more Swaminarayan followers begin their day with puja and meditation, lead upright, honest lives and donate regular hours in serving others. No Alcohol, No Addictions, No Adultery, No Meat, No Impurity of body and mind are their five lifetime vows. Such pure morality and spirituality forms the foundation of the humanitarian services performed by BAPS.
BAPS has built temples like this throughout the world. In fact, you don’t have to come to India to see one! I said Akshardham Temple is the world’s largest (working) Hindu temple but it is about to be eclipsed by another temple built by BAPS in Robbinsville, New Jersey! Yes, New Jersey.
Go see it!