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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

The Akshardham Delhi temple by the BAPS foundation in Delhi is set to become another Delhi landmark. These are the same people who built the Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, UK, the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, the Swaminarayan Mandir in Chicago, and others all around the world in Africa, Asia, America and Europe.

This temple seems to be their biggest, and most intricate project yet, combining several completely different and contrasting architectural styles of temple architecture in India -- Rajasthani, Orrisan, Gujarati and Jain; as well as Mughal architecture seen in the styles and carvings and the wood buildings of the complex -- into a pleasing whole. The Akshardham Temple is composed of the red-sandstone that Delhi is famous for, and that so many of her monuments are constructed of.

It's another massive project in India only recently "discovered" by the India forum members. Its a pity such projects in India aren't reported on by the press or media there. :| Though this temple is under construction, I'm posting it here since its the first anyone here's heard of it.

Description of project:

The Main Monument
Evoking the auspiciousness of Badrinath, majesty of Somnath, geometry of Modhera, mysticism of Ellora and grandeur of Angkor Wat, it will rise to stand with other great monuments of culture. Designed and sculpted entirely according to the ancient Indian Sthaapatya Shastras, it will be built to last thousands of years, profusely carved with 120 ornate pillars, 1200 delicate statues and statuettes, 40 filigreed arches, layers of Indian flora and fauna. Ancient mandirs and monuments are being carefully studied to create pure, authentic Hindu carvings through hundreds of craftsmen from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Orissa, reviving stone art.

The Gardens will be meditative with creative sculptures and fountains.

The Cultural Exhibitions
The Cultural Exhibitions will be experiential, where visitors will be able to rediscover and relive Indian culture and values through the most modern, interactive technology.

The Research Center
The Research Center will be futuristic, conducting research in social harmony.

The Auditorium
The Auditorium will promote cultural programs, music and seminars.

Here is the current temple on the complex:

A view from the current toward the Akshardham temple:

Some more construction pics:

^ You can appreciate the size from this pic. The older temple can be seen on the right hand side of the pic. Though it is also set farther back, so some of the relative smallness is because of perspective, but still gives a good idea.

What's unusual is that is that the sculptures and statues they're carving are rather lifelike, rather than stylized artistic forms found in traditional Indian temples. I did a double take when I saw them

Like these elephants:

or these statues being carved:

even look at the carvings of the pillar:

This pic really puts the project in scale; the outer plinth :eek:


3,316 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)

Also, this image shows a model of the complex, which gives an impression of its layout:

All the buildings in the above picture will be carved to the smallest detail by over 1500 craftsmen and -women.

michal1982 said:
THAT'S ABSOLUTLY FANTASTIC! what was the inspiration for that??
Well the vision (or spiritual) inspiration for building seems to be an ethos of the Swaminarayan sect. They're constantly outdoing themselves with each new temple project, each of which are already world class, like the

There most recently completed one, the temple in Chicago:

This Delhi temple is going to be much, much bigger than even the Chicago or London one. The most direct inspiration for this structure, with its size, schools, halls and museums, is their ten-story Akshardham monument in Gandhinagar, Gujarat:

The Akshardham in Gandhinagar is built with "6,000 tons of pink sandstone 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."

This Delhi temple is going to be on a much larger and grander scale than the Gujarat one, more than one and a half times bigger, with a much more expansive grounds.

Here are some pics of the Gujarat Akshardham temple, just to give a taste of what can be expected in the Delhi project:


What's also inspired about this temple is that the fact it is made up of and beautifully reconsiles 4-5 completely different traditional architectural forms -- Jain, Rajasthani, Gujarat, Orissan and Deccani, into one harmonious whole. Some ex:

^ Jain-type carvings with Gujarati style motifs

^ You can definately see the Jain influence on the roofs and halls, and the Rajasthani desert style stepped plinths

^ The Orissan influence is heavily seen in the taperings and caps of the roof design

^ Very Orissan style pillars and frames

^ The Gujarat influence is seen in the overall structure, layout and domes

^ More Rajasthani and Jain style facades and carved marble interiors, with Orissan influenced pillar forms and Gujarati ceilings

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