A New Landmark of Delhi: The Akshardham Temple
I hope you can keep a secret, for I am disclosing one of my dark secret not to be shared with anybody. What do you mean I am sharing it on internet so it can not be a secret? Well it can be a secret if you do not tell it to anybody. Right? I am getting addicted to twitter and my Facebook is feeling kind of left out. ( Notice no mention of family or friends)
The more I try to leave twitter the more I am sucked into it. If it is not the Sunday #TSBC chat, then it is the Monday #traveIndia chat. Oh that reminds me why I started writing this post. I was deep into the #traveIndia chat and the topic was ” Is Delhi Safe for Travelers”, which took me to my last visit to Delhi. Now if you know me even a little bit you will know my love for Delhi and that secret chamber where all my yaden are hidden. I wrote this post about Missing the Streets of Delhi after my last visit to the seventh city of Delhi. Let me take it further and talk about the latest landmark in Delhi.
If my memory serves me right then Ashoka’s pillar in the Qutub Complex must be the oldest man made structure in Delhi that has survived the plunder of Timur and Nadir and even the Kleptomania of Raj. Well this latest landmark in Delhi is Akshardham Temple. When I lived in Delhi I passed next to it almost every day when I traveled to Noida driving a good 55 KM in as many days, OK hours, OK baba 2.5 hours.( Whatever happened to creative freedom in blogs?) I was so sick of this drive that I use to prefer to work out of Bangalore office. I am not kidding, I use to sleep on my morning 2 hour flight and reach my office in Bangalore by 9:30 am, ( this was during the old airport days) absolutely fresh while I never reached Noida office before 11:30 am and that too totally exhausted.
Anyways this post is about our Visit to Akshardham Temple, which I used to pass by almost every day ( that is the days I was not working out of Bangalore office).
So the missus had never been to Akshardham with me and as we were anyways exploring Delhi in the heat, I readily agreed ( anybody married every disagreed with their wife?).
No autowallah was willing to cross Yamuna and go Jamna Paar. To hell with the autowallahs I said and we walked to the nearest metro station.
You know you are about to reach as the stench from Yamuna reaches you even from the airtight doors of Metro. Take a look at this picture, that looks more of an open sewage, than one of the holiest rivers of India.
One can see the Akshardham temple from Metro Window and I clicked some pictures. The metro continuously announces taking picture inside metro is not allowed, but since I was taking pictures from metro of outside metro guess I am technically ok? Please do inform me as I am a law abiding, god worshiping, and wife accompanying to temples kind of a guy.
For some reason when you come out of the metro station you cannot see the Akshardham Temple, or maybe we simply missed it, or it could be that the metro station was coming in between? Please do inform me if you find out the secret behind this Houdini act of the temple.
While I was wondering how to proceed towards my little pilgrimage, a few rickshawallahs gheraoed (apology to non desi Readers I cannot translate that, contact desi if you really want to know) us and offered their services to take us to the temple. What a contrast compared to the autowallahs who were not willing to go anywhere and here are these manual rickshaw pullers who were competing for my business. I felt like the sole MP on whose vote fate of PV Narsimha Rao government depended, and hopped on the super hot rexine seat. The tussle between the hot rexine and my bottom cooled by Metro lasted all of 30 seconds, because as soon as we took turn on the side road to Akshardham temple, security personnel stopped the rickshaw from going any further. The rickshawallah pocketed 20 RS for 20 pedals, but I was OK with the same after all a deal is a deal.
Now Akshardham temple is like a mini fort and you are not allowed to take your cell phones, camera, purse etc. Inside. The only concession the security allowed us was to carry the water bottle for the kiddo.
There is no ticket, but you can buy Prasad while coming out. As we visited during the summers, it was hot as hell ( its only an expression, I have never been there, nor do intend to visit hell, hell that is why I visit temples to book my seat in heaven). The stone walkways were not making things any better, fortunately near the shoe collection counter there were some rubber mats, to walk till the main temple which made things a bit cooler.
It is difficult to describe the exquisite carvings of the temple and it is easily one of the most beautiful modern temples in the country. Inside the sanctum sanctorum there is a large idol of one of the gurus of the Swaminaryan sect, and Hindu gods likes Krishna, Rama etc take a peripheral role.
We wanted to stay for the sound and light show in the evening but it was still a few hours away and Dilli kee galiyan ( Streets of Delhi) were calling me, hence we bid adieu to the temple and proceeded towards our next destination.
Travel Tips: Ample parking is available, but why to increase your carbon footprint? Take the super efficient Delhi Metro and get down at Akshardham Metro Station, you can walk from there or you can hire a rickshaw like we did.
Akshardham Temple Timings: First entry 9:30 am last entry: 6:30 pm., Monday Closed.
All these pictures were taken from outside by my cell phone and in no way show the true splendor of Akshardham Temple.
Translation of desi words in the post
Dilli Kee Galiyan: Streets of Delhi
Gheraoed: Please contact me if you really want to know
Jamna Paar: East Delhi, across Yamuna
Prasad: Holy sweets, given to devotees in temples
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