Delhi Aksharadham Temple visit - experience and tips

Aksharadham temple visit was on my wish-list for long time but never materialized during any of the previous visits. I had only seen it from metro track earlier. Finally managed to pay a visit.
Photo from guide book for reference since no cameras allowed inside
Unfortunately no mobiles or cameras are allowed inside the Aksharadhama campus so no photos for you. I visited Aksharadhama at about 3-3.30 PM, my idea was to visit the temple, attend sound and light show and then return.

Entry:
Entry to Aksharadhama is a complicated process. First you need to deposit your belongings- bags, mobile phones, cameras etc. This service is free- there was a queue of about 10 people for this counter. My belt pouch was allowed but mobile and powerbank was stored in a black pouch and I was given a token.

Next I had to join the queue which was for security check. There was a line of about 50 people ahead of me and took about 30 minutes for my turn to come.

Now I am inside. Bought a guide book for Rs 5. Walked through the entrance and made an attempt to understand and admire the architecture. As I walked closer to main temple, there was a ticket counter- I thought it was for the sound and light show, but realized only after paying that it was for an Exhibition.

The 100 Rs Exhibition+ Boat ride ticket was a total waste of time. Below is why.
The exhibition is smartly designed in 7-8 stages of few minutes each to create an impression that there's continuous movement of crowd. We wait for about 10 mins, We go in, sit at a place, watch an exhibit (sound+ doll show) depicting greatness of Bhagawan Smaminarayan, founder of Akshara Dham and move to next room for next exhibit. It is very clever design because if you tell people Next Exhibit is after 1 hour, no one will wait. So by sending in small batches every 10 minute, they are able to create an impression that there's no need to wait. I would have appreciated if all the story was shown at one place- I could have rested a bit. All exhibits were designed to project Swaminarayan as a great person. I lost it when they said he made a dead fish alive and preached peace to fishermen not to catch fishes. Was a bit too much, so I skipped last few exhibits and came out. Indian mythology has many such instances- for example reference to Sanjeevini herb in Ramayana which could bring dead people alive- No one has a way to prove them right or wrong so to believe or not to believe is left to each individual's prerogative. I would say save your time and money by skipping this exhibition, unless you're keen to watch a story telling glorifying one person.

After exhibition I was guided to boat ride- an underground boat ride with exhibits showcasing India's greatness on both directions. This ride costs 30 Rs (included in 100 Rs exhibition+ boat ride ticket).

Drinking water and toilet access is free inside. So is footwear storage near main temple. Food items cost money- chips about 30 Rs, coffee, snacks costing 50 Rs range. 

Main Aksharadhama temple was grand. Very carefully and intricately designed- a visual treat. Some construction work was going on right near the core temple.

Sound and light show begins at 7 PM.
At about 5.30 PM I was done with seeing whatever I could see. I had promised to meet Acharya Deepak after 6.30, thinking light show would begin at 6. Now inside without a mobile I did't have any way to communicate with them. There were paid phone inside but without his number written down, I didn't have any option.

I decided to exit, collect my phone, communicate my delay to friend and re-enter. I peeped into security area to check how is the crowd. I saw only a manageable crowd- gave me an impression that I can re-enter within 10-15 minutes waiting.

I was wrong big time.

As I came out and collected my phone, I saw that the crowd is at least 500+ waiting to be let into security queue. This crowd in pre-security area wasn't visible from inside.

Now I had to make a choice- rejoin this 500+ crowd and probably spend an hour or two to get inside, with the risk of missing the light show (6.30 PM last entry into Aksharadham) or forget the light show and exit. If I had a warning to note down important phone numbers I could have avoided this mess, if they had a display- re-entry takes an hour or waiting queue is 500 people long, I wouldn't have probably came out. I was in no mood to join the line again, so decided to abandon sound and light show and go back.

As I walked out, I could see hundreds of people still pouring in for the evening sound and light show. I will have to revisit some other time to see it.

Tips for visiting Aksharadham temple
  • Note down important phone numbers on a piece of paper.
  • The 100 Rs exhibition ticket is waste of time and money, unless you're very keen to know detailed history
  • Transparent water bottles are allowed, mobile, charger, camera, laptop etc not allowed
  • Entry, locker room access, drinking water etc free but food, exhibition, sound and light show etc will cost you money.
  • Walkable from Akshardham metro, don't fall to trap of auto/cycle rickshaw pullers for the sake of a few hundred meters.

10 comments:

  1. Well you were lucky with only short waiting time when we visited we had a to wait for more than half hour in each Q...and we did not even see the light show... as it was getting late

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    Replies
    1. Yes, noticed that it tends to get too crowded at times

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  2. I visited Akshardham couple of times 7-8 years ago. The entry queue was negligible then. The queues to enter the exhibition used to be long.
    I see you haven't mentioned the big screen theater 40-min movie. Is it no longer functioning? That was personally my most favourite experience back then- haven't seen such a huge screen even in the IMAX movie theaters we have in Delhi or Mumbai. It used to be included in the exhibition + boat ride ticket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the exhibition did have some screens- may be I didn't pay close attention or could have missed some portions-not sure

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  3. Nice to read your experience of Aksharadham temple.

    ReplyDelete
  4. it is a good post as will be liking to visit this place some time.

    ReplyDelete

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