Swaminarayan Akshardham in Gandhinagar, Gujarat is a large Hindu temple complex inspired by Pramukh Swami, the current spiritual head of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. Located in the capital of Gujarat, the complex was built over 13 years and is a tribute to Swaminarayan and his life and teachings. At the center of the 23-acre complex is the Akshardham mandir, which is built from 6,000 metric tons of pink sandstone from Rajasthan.
The complex’s five exhibition halls use audio-visual presentations and life-sized dioramas to explore various themes in Hinduism. The Neelkanth and Sahajanand Halls depict Swaminarayan’s life, work and teachings. The Mystic India Hall features an IMAX theater which screens a 40-minute film portraying the country-spanning pilgrimage Swaminarayan had embarked on at the age of eleven, when he assumed the name Neelkanth Varni.
Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show
The Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show is an interpretative performance of the parable of Nachiketa, as told in the Kathopanishad. The show’s title translates to Truth-Knowledge-Bliss and is an appellation of the Hindu ontological reality Aksharbrahma or Akshardham. The show was inaugurated on 3 April 2010 by Pramukh Swami. The vibrant show employs fire, fountain animations, laser, water screen projections, music and live characters in a 45-minute retelling of Nachiketa’s choice.
AARSH (Akshardham Centre for Applied Research in Social Harmony)
AARSH is a research institute focused on the Swaminarayan tradition as well as the role of Hindu principles in solving social problems. It serves as a forum for scholars to discuss pragmatic application of religion and philosophy to raise social harmony in society The research facility includes a library of more than 7,000 works in Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati and Tamil as well as a large collection of rare manuscripts that cover the various denominations and schools of philosophy in Hinduism.
Sahajanand Van is a 15-acre garden with various attractions, including rock arrangements, fountains, a waterfall, and a 18,000 sq. ft. plant nursery. In addition, throughout the garden are six cultural wisdom spots which depict specific incidents and teachings of Hinduism.