Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Trip to Akshardham

I am just back from a trip to the beautiful Akshardham temple in Delhi. For some reason, cameras aren't allowed inside so no pix I am afraid :(

  1. Park inside the complex - charges are Rs. 20/- Only one person can go into the parking lot and mobile phones are not allowed in the complex, so its best if everyone gathers at the enquiry desk. Alos, you can buy a guide for Rs. 5/- at the enquiry desk, it really comes handy
  2. Once inside you can buy tickets to the three shows - Sahajanand Darshan, Neelkanth Darshan, Sanskruti Vihar for Rs. 120/- per adult. The shows take 1 hr 15 min total, waiting time outside should be approx 15 min if you go for the Hindi version; an English show with very few patrons occurs, but only once an hour
  3. There is a nice pure-veg Premavati Food Court inside that is nothing short of being a food factory - even Dosas are delivered JIT - order and takeaway within 20s
  4. There's an Abhishek Mandapam where you can offer prayers, also a souvenir shop where you can buy stuff
  5. There are musical fountains at 6:15 PM (Rs. 20/- per adult sold separately). Other attractions are a nice garden with displays of prominent freedom fighters and Indians in history, as well as a lotus shaped lawn.
The main temple complex is beautifully decorated and architected with marble interiors and red sandstone exteriors. There are intricate carvings on the interior and exterior walls, modelled on the Konark temple, minus the erotic carvings of course :) One difference is that the Konark artisans didnt leave any emtpy patches, these guys do leave occasional small ones. The carvings on the roof reminded me of the Jain temple at Ranakpur, very details and multi-layered, particularly on the inside of the domes.

Overall, the entire trip takes something like 6 hours on a weekday when the temple is empty. Its a must see place but only on weekdays when its less crowded. BTW, for some reason "Drunkards" are listed as banned items, so dont tell these people you drink (if you do :) ) There are also anti-war and pro-vegetarianism displays inside, so be prepared to be assaulted by that too :)
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