Holding the Guinness World Records as the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple, the Akshardham temple complex is a stunning piece of architecture. Sprawled over a vast area, the complex looks like a splendid heavenly city when viewed from above. The temple itself has been constructed in pink sandstone and marble and is laid amidst neatly manicured lawns, pristine waterfronts and open courtyards. It has been designed in the traditional Hindu style of architecture and follows vaastu shastra and pancharatra shastra. As you stroll along the breathtaking complex, you will spot intricate carvings of animals, flowers, dancers, musicians and deities that adorn the walls. It is said that the stone used in the construction of the temple was brought from Rajasthan and weighed about 6,000 tonne. The Italian Carrara marble used in the structure adds to the beauty of the grand temple.

Some interesting features of the temple are a musical fountain, the Sahaj Anand Water Show at Yagnapurush Kund and the breathtaking Light and Sound Show. Starting at 7:30 pm, the show narrates stories from ancient Hindu scriptures. It is a spectacular rendition that uses colourful lasers, underwater flames, water jets and video projections.

The temple stands at a height of 140 ft and has a width of about 300 ft. It hosts 234 beautifully carved pillars, along with nine elaborately inscribed domes. The temple premises hold around 20,000 idols of Hindu deities, and the main shrine is that of Lord Swaminarayan. An 11-foot-tall idol of the god stands below the central dome. Interestingly, each statue at Akshardham is built with five metals called panch dhaatu. It also contains 148 statues of elephants that weigh over 3,000 tonne.

The temple can be accessed via 10 gates that symbolise 10 directions. The main gate is Bhakti Dwar or the gate of devotion. Akshardham was inaugurated on November 6, 2005. More than 8,000 volunteers across the world joined hands in building the temple.

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