At the center of the spacious Akshardham
complex, a delicate and beautiful architectural
masterpiece - the Akshardham Monument - enshrines the golden murti (idol)
of Lord Swaminarayan, the founder of the Swaminarayan Faith.
The imposing 10 story high
monument is made entirely of intricately carved, 6000 tons of pink sand-stone
from Rajasthan, with no steel or cement used at all, ensuring that the
monument will last for a thousand years. It is 108 ft.(32.92 m) tall,
240 ft.(73.15 m) long and 131 ft.(39.93 m) wide.
Designed and crafted according
to ancient Indian Architectural Treatises (called the Sthaapatya shastras),
the monument radiates a spiritual aura into the complex. The monument
is awash with silence and peace, which one spontaneously experiences in
the three floors -
Mandapam (the main floor),
Vibhuti Mandapam (the upper floor),
Prasadi Mandapam (the ground floor).
Suspended from the skies like a shimmering
chandelier, Akshardham is an architectural marvel of this Century. Awe-inspiring
auspiciousness and amazing craftsmanship! 6,000 tons of pink sandstone
have been pieced together with incredible accuracy. More than 12 million
man hours of 900 skilled craftsmen have created this magnificent monument
of 93 sculpted pillars, 40 windows carved from both sides, and a feast
of forms and filigrees. Built inch to inch according to the ancient Sthaapatya
shastras of India, no steel has been used. Support beams are 22 ft. single
piece stone blocks. The pillars are poetry in stone, with beautiful expression
from foot to crown. Every carving carries a meaning. Every statue breathes
life! The intricacy, the delicacy, the austerity is breathtaking. The
patterns are peaceful while the dome resonates with vibrations divine.
It is because Akshardham is more than an architectural masterpiece, it
is the living devotion of devotees to create Heaven on Earth. Some of
the amazing facts about its architectural marvel are:
stone pillars in India - four delicately sculpted pillars
rise to 33 ft.
support beams in stone architecture - 22 ft. long single-piece
beams, each weighing 5 tons.
No iron or
steel - from foundation to pinnacle - only stone has been
73 richly patterned
and 63 partially carved pillars.
with profuse roopkam - sculptures and figures.
64 large traditional
sculptures with spiritual meanings and 192 small figures of
gods and goddesses adorn the pillars.
5 types of
stones used in the Monument : 1. Pink sandstone from Bansipahadpur.
2. Yellow stone from Jesalmer. 3. White marble from Makrana.
4. Maroon granite from Jhansi. 5. White marble from Ambaji.
25 domes of
varying sizes and depths.
porch and 3 exclusively decorated porticos.
carved from both sides - 30 large windows and 24 small grills.
220 stone beams
for structural support.
57 stone screens
for controlling light and enhancing beauty.
feet of pink sandstone has been carved and assembled.