South Korean President Moon Jae-in who is on a 4 day state visit to India is all in praise for Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in Delhi. In fact, he along with his wife, Kim Jung-sook, kicked-off their first state visit to India with a tour of the Akshardham temple on Sunday.
President Moon was very much impressed by architecture of the temple and its detailed carvings on its domed ceilings, pillars and the Gajendra Pithika (elephant plinth) and exclaimed that the work seems beyond human capacity. The visiting couple also patiently listened to the stories behind every design in the temple. They also went around the main temple on golf carts and later performed abhishek by offering holy water. The South Korean leader admired the Gajendra Pithika that includes 148 life-sized carved stone elephants.
Swaminarayan Akshardham complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture. Inspired by Yogiji Maharaj and created by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, it was constructed by Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. Designed in accordance with the standards of Maharishi Vastu Architecture, it features a blend of architectural styles across India. It is entirely constructed from Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. Based on traditional Hindu architectural guidelines (Shilpa shastras) on maximum temple life span, it makes no use of ferrous metal. Thus, it has no support from steel or concrete. The mandir consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, nine domes, and 20,000 murtis of sadhus, devotees, and acharyas.
The mandir also features the Gajendra Pith at its base, a plinth paying tribute to the elephant for its importance in Hindu culture and India’s history. It contains 148 life sized elephants in total weighing a total of 3000 tons. Under the temple’s central dome lies the 11-foot (3.4-m) high murti of Swaminarayan seated in abhayamudra to whom the temple is dedicated.