Akshardham is made up of two words Akshar meaning indestructible or the soul and dham meaning abode so Akshardham is, in a way, the place where souls go and attain moksha. It is no wonder that Akshardham temples across the world, starting with the first in Gandhinagar, have become pilgrimage spots for devotees of the Swaminarayan sect regardless of their affiliation to any of the multiple sub-sects within. Akshardham in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, like the other Akshardhams in Delhi and other parts of the world, is more than just a temple complex. It is a cultural complex, an entertainment complex and a place that showcases Indian style architecture. A visit is uplifting spiritually as well as informative and relaxing.
Akshardham is located in sector 20 on the “J” road in Gandhinagar, the planned capital city of Gujarat, about 30 km from Ahmedabad.
How to Reach Gandhinagar Akshardham
Ahmedabad is well connected by rail, road and air to the rest of India. Your best way to reach Akshardham, Gandhinagar, is to arrive in Ahmedabad by road, by air or by rail. You could book a room in a hotel in Ahmedabad and travel by road directly to Akshardham. There are buses plying regularly between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar with pick up points at convenient locations. You get down at Gandhinagar bus depot and hire a rickshaw to take you to Akshardham. Better still; hire a cab that will drive you straight to Akshardham either via the Sarkhej Gandhinagar Highway or the Motera Road. Either way you will pass the Koba circle and proceed on the outskirts of Gandhinagar to reach sector 20 on the J Road (roads in Gandhinagar are named alphabetically and sectors are given numbers). You pass Indroda, a nature park that is worth visiting on the way to Akshardham.
Points to Keep in Mind
- The complex remains closed on Mondays so plan your visit on any other day.
- Entry opens at 9.30 AM in the morning and the last entry is at 6.30 PM.
- There is an entry fee. Children below 12 and above 4 pay Rs.100. Children below 4 are admitted free of cost. Adults pay Rs.170 each and senior citizens 65 years of age and above pay Rs.125.
- You have to pass through a security check and deposit all belongings at the security counter, including mobile phones. They are strict especially after the terrorist attack that happened inside the complex.
- Spare at least 3 hours for the visit because the complex is large and there are many attractions to keep you busy. The audio animatronics show in the Hall of Values lasts one hour, the boat ride lasts 15 minute and the film, Neelkanth Darshan lasts 40 minutes.
- The chief attractions are the Hall of Venues, the Giant Screen Film, Musical Fountains that come on display at sunset, Boat ride and food court where you are offered a variety of foods. Please keep in mind that there may be entry tickets for the Hall of Venues and for the film that showcases the life of Lord Swaminarayan.
- Appropriate decent dress is recommended, especially for ladies since the sect is rather conservative and frowns upon modern revealing western dresses.
Best Time to Visit
Busloads of pilgrims and tourists arrive here every day and people queue up for an entrance. However, the best place to visit is during winter from November to March when the weather is pleasantly cool. The evening is the best time if you plan to visit in summer but be sure to arrive here around 5 PM because there is always a queue. Wear light cottons in summer and just some woollens in winter though it may not be necessary for the daytime.