Temples of Ahmedabad: Dwelt In the Arms of Peace
Ahmedabad is a land of impeccable cultural heritage. There are amazing places in Ahmedabad to have a gala time at. Apart from that, there are some if the eminent places of pilgrimage that are famous in the entire world. There are 4 famous temples of Ahmedabad. Let us have a look on them.
It may be the most renowned temple in the Swaminarayan Sect. The temple was built employing pink stones with gorgeous carvings. Lush green gardens and admirable fountain surround it. The temple is located in Gandhinagar, nearly 25 km away from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Akshardham is the largest temple complex in India, built through the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) under the guidance of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The gigantic structure houses elements of devotion, art, architecture, education, and research in a single place.
The architecture of the temple:
The structure was built using 6000 tons of pink sandstone neatly fashioned together to create an outstanding architectural marvel composed of 93 carved pillars, 40 sculpted windows, and diverse other stone statues. It required a lot more than 12 million times to construct, supplied by 900 skilled craftsmen.
It’s a modern complex, built-in traditional Indian architectural style. This 10 stories high monument is created entirely of intricately carved, pink sandstone from Rajasthan, without any steel or cement used. It’s 108 feet in height, 240 feet long and 131 feet wide.
In the middle of the spacious Akshardham complex, is situated the Akshardham Monument, which enshrines the golden idol of Swaminarayan, the founding father of the Swaminarayan Faith. The very first floor galleries house a museum portraying the 500 ‘paramhansas’, and many things owned by Swaminarayan.
The temple is found in the midst of the spacious garden called Sahajanand Van, using the presence of carvings of Hindu Gods. You’ll find sculptures of Lord Swaminarayan, Gunatinand Swami and Gopalanand Swami. All of the statues are generally gold or copper plated.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Akshardham Temple is between the months of October and March as the weather during these months is quite pleasant in Gandhinagar.
The Akshardham Temple is open from:
- Tuesday to Sunday
- 9:30am to 6:30pm.
- The temple is closed on Monday.
The Sat-Chit-Anand Water Show is one famous happening in the temple. It is an interpretative performance of the story of Nachiketa, as told in the Kathopanishad. The show’s title translates to Truth-Knowledge-Bliss and is a term of the Hindu ontological reality Aksharbrahma or Akshardham. The show was inaugurated on 3 April 2010 by Pramukh Swami.
Sun Temple at Modhera
It is one of the few shrines that are dedicated to the Sun God, situated on the banks of Pushpavati River in Modhera. The nearest station to Modhera is located at Ahmedabad, which lies at a distance of 102 km.
The temple was built by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty in 1026. It was believed that King Bhimdev was the descendants of the lineage of Sun God. Turning in the pages of history, one can notice the mention of Modhera in the scriptures like Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana. The surrounding areas of Modhera are known as Dharmaranya (forest of righteousness) and the place was blessed by Lord Rama.
There are certain structures in the temple premises:
Surya Kund is a deep stepped tank in the front of the temple. The tank was named after the Lord Surya (Sun God).
Literally, Sabha Mandap refers to an assembly hall where religious gatherings and conferences are conducted. This hall is open from all the four sides and has 52 delicately carved pillars.
Guda Mandap is the chamber that is supported by a lotus base platform once, this hall used to house the idol of the Sun God.
Legend of Modhera Sun Temple
According to Skanda Purana and Brahma Purana, it is said that when Ram was coming back from SriLanka after killing Ravana, he wanted to forgive himself of the sin of killing a Brahmin as Ravana was a Brahmin. He asked Vashishth Muni to show him a place where he can do the same and the sage pointed him to Dharmaranya or the forest of the Dharma. Rama performed his Yagna here and established a village called Sitapur. Sitapur is the village that came to be known as Modhera later, which actually translates to a mound of the dead, probably because this place has seen layers of civilization, one upon the other. Another legend says this Modhera got its name from Modh community of Brahmins who helped Rama perform his yagna here.
This elegant temple is carved out of white marble and has been sacred to many Jain families, generation after generation. It was built in 1848 A.D. at an estimated cost of 10 lac rupees by a rich merchant Sheth Hutheesing as a dedication to the 15th Jain tirthankar, Shri Dharmanatha. Traditional artisans working in stone belonged to the Sonpura & Salat communities. The Salat community constructed masterpieces of architecture ranging from forts, palaces to temples. The work of the Hutheesing Jain Temple is attributed to Premchand Salat.
Located outside the Delhi Gate, the temple is spread over an expansive courtyard, a mandapa overcoming by a large wavy dome, which is supported by 12 elaborate pillars. The small garbhagruh on the east end reaches up into three stunningly carved spires and encircled by 52 small shrines dedicated to the various Tirthankars. There are large protruding porches with decorated columns and brackets that have figures on them on the three outer sides.
Also, a recently built 78 ft Mahavir stambha (tower) formed after the renowned tower at Chittor in Rajasthan, sides the outer courtyard by the front entrance. Some of the motifs used in the design remind of the Sultanate minarets of the Mughal period.
The architecture of the temple:
The temple architect was Premchand Salat. The main building is double-storied. The moolnayak is marble image of the 15th Tirthankara, Lord Dharamnath. The main temple houses 11 deities, six in the basement and five in three Bay sanctuaries. The main shrine lies on the east and temple is covered with a big dome supported by twelve decorated pillars. In addition, there are 52 shrines (devakulikas), each adorned with an image of a Tirthankara. The secondary shrines forms a long gallery its three sides. The front is exquisitely ornamented by a ‘dome’ shaped structure. The temple has a unique Manastambha (or column of honor) inspired by the Jain Manastambha and the Kirtistambha at Chittore in Rajasthan.
From 9 am to 1 pm and 5 pm every day.
Shri Swaminarayan Temple, Ahmedabad
It is the first temple of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. Swaminarayan Temple is located in Kalupur area of Ahmedabad. It was built on the instructions of Swaminarayan, the founder of the sect.
The legend of the temple:
As per the will of Swaminarayan, the administration of the Swaminarayan Sampraday is divided into two Gadis (seats) – NarNarayan Dev Gadi and LaxmiNarayan Dev Gadi.
This temple is the headquarters of the NarNarayan Dev Gadi. Green and yellow sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses, their bodies fitted in luxurious dresses, cover the structure of this nineteenth-century temple
The architecture of the temple:
The architecture of the temple is based on Burma teak wood, every colored arch and bracket are a bright different shade, something that stands out in most Swaminarayan temples. The temple attracts a million people on the day after Diwali. The temple has a multi-story guesthouse that is air-conditioned and has a fully equipped medical clinic within its compound.
the British Imperial Government in India gave this land to Swaminarayan for the construction of this first shrine of Swaminarayan Sampraday. The task of constructing this temple was entrusted personally by Swaminarayan to Ananandanand Swami (a Paramhansa of the sect). The installation ceremony of the murti (idols) in the temple was celebrated in the presence about 50,000 of pilgrims from many parts of India.