Jagdish Temple, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Deities: Lord Laxmi Narayan
Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan
Built by: Maharana Jagat Singh
Built in: 1651 A.D
Highlights: Intricate carvings on pillars
Best time to visit: September to March
STD Code: 0294

If you are looking for some unique vacation destination then you may simply go for Udaipur. It is considered as one of the most colourful and beautiful holiday destinations of Rajasthan. A major tourist attraction of Udaipur is Jagdish Temple.

The Jagdish Temple is located at a distance of 150 meters from the City Palace Complex in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Maharana Jagat Singhji constructed this religious shrine in 1651. It took more than 1.5 million rupees to construct this stunning temple that dominates the Udaipur skyline.

The temple, 80 feet high, is on a 25 feet high platform accessible by a flight of 32 steps. The bold structure of the temple, representing the variety of scenes relating to the life on this Earth as well as the World beyond, is a delight to an architect who should minutely examine these figures engraved with all well-thought details. The ornamental decorum and the architectural beauty of the temple defies any description.

It is one of the largest Vishnu temples in the northern region of India. This elevated temple is easy to view from City Palace. The foothold of the Jagdish temple steps has two spotless white elephants on both the sides to greet you to the temple. The exterior wall of the holy temple is made up of local stone. The principal god in this pilgrimage center is lord Vishnu or Jagannath which is an idol of black stone.

A three-storied structure, the Jagdish Temple has three shrines. Spread across three storeys, Jagdish Temple has 50 pillars in both the first and second storeys. The main shrine dominates the center flanked by two smaller shrines. An excellent example of Indo-Aryan building styles, the Spire that is beautifully decorated with architectural ornaments of musicians, dancers, elephants and horses.

A huge brass image of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu stands guard in front of the main shrine. It houses a bronze figure of the mythological half-man, half-eagle creature that transported Lord Vishnu. This huge brass icon is said to be the largest and heaviest in India.

Jagdish Temple also has a mandap and porch. The interiors look stunning with intricate carvings and friezes-adorned walls. A Sanskrit inscription in the porch written by Krishna Bhatt in the year 1651gives a detailed history of the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh.

Four smaller temples stand around the boundary of the main shrine and are dedicated to Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, Surya the Sun god, Amba (Ambika) the Mother Goddess, and Lord Shiva. A smaller temple dedicated to Krishna and his consort Radha is nearby.

Udaipur Temples:
Eklingji Temple
Jagat Temple
Jagdish Temple
Kankroli Temple
Nathdwara Temple
Ranakpur Temple
Rishabdeo Temple

How to reach:
by Air: Udaipur Airport namely Maharana Pratap Airport is located near Dabok at a distance of 22 kms from the city of Udaipur.
by Rail: Udaipur Railway Station is located at a comfortable distance from the city of Udaipur. Rajasthan Railways connects Udaipur station with all the other cities of Rajasthan as well as India.
by Road: Udaipur is well connected by road to major cities in India. Brilliant road network ensure people to enjoy a relaxed journey to and from Udaipur.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Swaminarayan Akshardham, Delhi, India

Deities: Harikrishna Maharaj, Swaminarayan Bhagwan, Krishna, Radha, Rama, Shiva, Ganesh, Hanuman, Neelkanth
Location: Delhi, India
Best time to visit: All year around
Known as: Akshardham
Significant: Guinness world record as ‘World’s comprehensive Hindu temple’
Festival & Event: Janmashtami, Ram Navami, Maha Shivaratri, Hanuman Jayanti
STD Code: 0091-11

What is ‘Akshardham’:
Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in the Vedas and Upanishads where divine Bhakti, purity and peace forever pervades.

Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomises 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind.

The grand, ancient-styled Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was built in only five years through the blessings of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and the colossal devotional efforts of 11,000 artisans and BAPS volunteers. The complex was inaugurated on 6 November, 2005.

For the first time ever in the world witness the heritage of India in all its facets, insights and beauty at the Swaminarayan Akshardham through its monument, exhibitions, verdant gardens and other attractions.

What to See:

The beautiful Mandir built without steel, consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikharas, spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, Acharyas and divine personalities.

The Mandir is a fusion of pink stone and pure white marble, where pink stone symbolizes Bhakti in eternal bloom and white marble that of absolute purity and eternal peace. Akshardham was created by HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in fulfilment to the wish of his guru, Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth successor in the spiritual hierarchy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. In only a short time span of five years Swaminarayan Akshardham became a reality through the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, 300 million man hours of epic services rendered by 11,000 volunteers, sadhus and artisans and the immense sacrifice, austerities, prayers of hundreds of thousands of young and old devotees of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

Inauguration: 06 Nov 2005, Kartik Shukla Panchami, Labh Pancham, Vikram Samvat 2062
Height: 141.3 ft
Width: 316 ft
Length: 356 ft
Organizer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
Creator: HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Garbhagriha (Inner Sanctum):
In the inner sanctum lies the 11 feet high beautiful and divine murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the murtis of Guru Parampara, namely, Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shashtriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj; where every sincere prayer is answered. One can also have the darshan of the deities of Sanatan Dharma: Shri Sita-Ram, Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Lakshmi-Narayan, Shri Shiv-Parvati, avatars and twenty-four Chaturvyuh or Keshava murtis of God.

The divine serenity in the Garbhagriha inspires peace and divine happiness.

Mandapams (Ornate Domes):
The majestic Mandir has 9 magnificent domes, 234 intricately carved pillars, 20 quadrangle-shaped shikharas, 20,000 carvings of great sages, deities, celestial beings, 500 murtis of Paramhansa of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and many statues of devotees, birds and animals embellish the inside and outside walls of the Mandir.

The inside of the Mandir has 8 ornately carved Mandapams, each featuring the forms of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, avatars and the deities of Sanatan Dharma.

Vibhuti Mandovara (Ornate External Wall):
The ornate external wall of the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir is known as the Mandovara.

In the last 800 years this is the only and largest, intricately carved Mandovara in India with dimensions of 611ft x 31ft. It comprises 200 sculptured stone figures of India’s great Rishis, sadhus, devotees, Acharyas and divine incarnations.

The Mandovara is made of different layers: Gajstar, Sinhstar, Vyalstar, Kumbhstar, Kalashstar, Gavakshstar, Jangha and Chhajja with a total of 4,287 carved stones. The Kumbhstar includes 48 ornately carved murtis of Shri Ganeshji.

Narayan Pith (Bronze Relief Work):
Beautiful bronze relief panels illustrate the divine incidents from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

Gajendra Pith (Elephant Plinth):
India’s legacy of love and reverence for nature is found in the Vedic mantras. Our great Rishis and ancestors lived in the lap of nature’s bounty. They coexisted with the forces of nature and all its wealth of animals and plants”.

The people of India, are nature lovers, preserving and offering respect to its denizens. Indian lore

vividly depicts this wonderful relationship, which is eloquently reflected in our culture and way of life.

The Gajendra Pith is a unique, captivating feature of Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir. It pays tribute to elephants, symbolizing the entire animal kingdom. Sculptured according to the ancient Shilpa Shastras of India it is ornately carved in pink stone, stretching for 1,070 ft and featuring stories and legends of elephants with nature, man and God. Every panel reflects the messages of social harmony, peace and spiritual faith.

The Gajendra Pith, weighing 3,000 tons, has 148 full-sized elephants, 42 birds and animals, 125 human sculptures and decorative stone backdrops of trees, creepers and royal palaces.

Gajendra Pith is presented in three categories:

Elephant and Nature: In the lap of India’s lush jungles elephants frolic and live in their elements.
Elephant and Man: For thousands of years a unique relationship exists between man and elephant.
Elephant and the Divine: Wonderful stories illustrated in stone of elephants with God.

Narayan Sarovar (Sacred Water Lake):
Where there is pure water, there lies a pilgrim place and therein the gods sport”.
Rig Ved 4.9.3, Bhavishya Puran: 1.130. 15

From Vedic times India has a glorious tradition of water pilgrim places in the form of rivers, stepwells and lakes. Following this tradition, a sacred water lake, Narayan Sarovar, surrounds the main Akshardham Mandir. The lake contains holy waters from 151 rivers and lakes sanctified by Bhagwan Swaminarayan, including Mansarovar.

Surrounding the Narayan Sarovar are 108 Gaumukh, symbolizing 108 names of God, from which holy water issues forth. Fully-bloomed lotus flowers in the lake impart an inspiring message of purity and detachment.

Neelkanth Abhishek (Ritual Worship):
Devotees offer Abhishek (ritual pouring of water) to the murti of Neelkanth Varni and express their reverence and prayers for spiritual upliftment and fulfilment of wishes.

Parikramas (Colonnade):
From ancient times the Parikramas (circumambulatory path) of Mandirs are pathways to express reverence and devotion to the deities of Sanatan Dharma.

The Swaminarayan Akshardham Parikramas is made of red stone from Rajasthan, consisting of,152 pillars, 145 windows and 154 samvaran shikharas; amounting to a total of 53,956 stones. It surrounds Akshardham like a beautiful decorative garland. Every window and gallery in the lower Parikramas provides different views and insights to Akshardham Mandir. You can hear the soothing sound of water issuing from the 108 Gaumukh. The soft chanting of the holy names of God permeates the Parikramas, giving an experience of peace and divinity. The two-tiered Parikramas is the first of its kind in India.

Length: 3,000 ft.

Hall of Values::

Sahajanand Darshan (Audio Animatronics Shows)
Experience the timeless messages of Indian culture featured through the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

The principle theme of sculpting one’s life for happiness, success and peace of mind is portrayed in this exhibition. The exhibits portray the messages of ahimsa, endeavour, prayer, morality, vegetarianism, family harmony, etc. through fifteen 3-D dioramas and presentations from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Exquisite settings and statues in each diorama are brought to life through robotics, fibre optics, light and sound effects, dialogues and music; transporting the audience to 18th century India.
Unique 3-D dioramas and walk-through dioramas
Statues come to life through animatronic technology
A fresh experience, a new message and a novel presentation in every diorama

Neelkanth Darshan (Giant Screen Film)::
An epic period film featuring an exciting and inspiring pilgrimage of Neelkanth Varni, a child-yogi, of 18th century India. This unique period film, Neelkanth Darshan, was shot in the icy peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the pristine shores of Kerala in the south. The large format film depicts India’s holy places, festivals and spiritual traditions on a giant screen that is over six stories high. Neelkanth Darshan is the first ever wide format film filmed in India and produced by an Indian organisation.

The international large format version of Neelkanth Darshan film is Mystic India.
Filmed in 108 locations of India with 30 giant settings
45,000 cast in colourful costumes
A vivid experience of 18th century India presented on a giant screen
Giant screen: 85′ x 65′ ft

Neelkanth Varni:
A beautiful 27 ft. high bronze murti of Neelkanth Varni stands in a determined pose outside the large format film theatre.

Sanskruti Vihar (Boat Ride for India’s Glorious Heritage)::
A 12-minute spectacular boat-ride experience of the 10,000 year old India’s glorious heritage.

:- Savour the world’s oldest Vedic village life and bazaar
:- Sail through Takshshilla – the world’s first university
:- Journey through the labyrinth of ancient discoveries and inventions by the great rishi-scientists of India

Yagnapurush Kund (Musical Fountains)::
The fascinating web of life on earth is intricate, precise and beautiful. Its fragile network shows an uncompromising interdependency between man, nature and God. Therefore what we receive for sustenance by way of earth, water, fire, air and space, we need to repay and sacrifice with body, mind and heart.

To fulfil this function in life, India’s great sages and Rishis established the Yagna tradition. They chanted mantras, offered grains and ghee in a sacrificial fire (Yagna Kund) to appease the deities of earth, water, fire, air, etc. Yagna means to sacrifice or generously give in appreciation to others.

The Yagnapurush Kund is a fascinating combination of a Vedic Yagna Kund and a musical fountain. It is the world’s largest Yagna Kund measuring 300′ X 300′ with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its center lies an 8-petaled lotus shaped Yagna Kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Pancharatra scripture. Its perfect geometric forms testify to ancient India’s advanced knowledge in mathematics and geometry. At night the center comes to life with a colourful musical water fountain that echoes the Vedic sentiments of India.

Yagnapurush Kund has been so named after the founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and the third successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Swami Yagnapurushdasji (Brahmaswarup Shashtriji Maharaj).

Bharat Upavan (Garden of India)::
Through the millenniums people have always looked up to role models for inspiration, guidance, peace and courage. Their sterling lives radiate a perennial glow for the whole of mankind, regardless of all human, geographical and cultural distinctions.

India, which has the most ancient civilisation in the world, that hosts one sixth of humanity and has the largest democracy in the world, has produced from its vast cultural matrix a legion of role models for the world to emulate.

Bharat Upavan exudes a magnificent natural and cultural ambience through its manicured lawns, lush gardens and wonderful bronze statues of the great role models of India. India’s child gems, valorous warriors, freedom fighters, national figures and great women personalities inspire visitors with values and pride for our great nation.

Yogihriday Kamal:
This is a special lotus of auspicious sentiments.

Yogiji Maharaj, the who dreamed of Akshardham, always prayed, “May God do good of all”. He had infinite faith in God and man.

Every petal of Yogihriday Kamal reflects the auspicious sentiments of Yogiji Maharaj.

Ever since time immemorial great thinkers, scientists, writers, international personalities, saints and sages from every corner of our earth have expressed their prolific faith in the religious scriptures, God and man. Here, every petal inspires with messages from internationally renowned personages about faith in God and faith in man.

An iota of this faith can
Transform the face of our world,
And also one’s own life

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS)
‘Swaminarayan Akshardham’
National Highway 24
Near Noida Mor
New Delhi
INDIA – 110092
Tel: 0091-11-2201-6688, 2202-6688
Fax: 0091-11-2201-5757

Web: www.akshardham.com

Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Delhi, India

Deities: Lord Vishnu-Lakshmi
Location: New Delhi, Cannaught Place
Constructed by: R.D.Birla, 1938
Also known as: Birla Mandir
Festival: Janmashtami & Diwali

The Lakshmi Narayan Temple or the Birla Temple as it is popularly known enshrines Lord Vishnu – the preserver of the Hindu Trinity. The Temple is one of the major attractions of the capital city – Delhi. Built by the well-known industrialist, R.D. Birla, the temple is dedicated to Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) and Narayana the preserver).

About the Temple:
The highest Shikara of the temple above the sanctum sanctorum soars 160 feet high. The temple faces the east and is situated on a high plinth. This chamber is dedicated to Lord Narayan and Goddess Lakshmi. There are other small shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Hanuman. The holy Vedas are also enshrined in this temple. There is also a shrine dedicated to Lord Buddha. The shrine is adorned with fresco paintings depicting his life and work. The icons of the temple are in marble brought from Jaipur. Kota stone from Makarana, Agra, Kota and Jaisalmer were used in the construction of the temple premises. The Geeta Bhawan to the north of the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temples premises are dotted with miniature rock temples, which are a craze amongst the children. An artificial landscape complete with mountains and cascading waterfalls add to the beauty of the temple.

It was built by eminent industrialist Raja Baldev Birla. This temple is dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Narayana, the preserver of this universe. It took nearly six years to construct this temple. The serene and piously enchanting surroundings awaken every soul from the slumber of this material world.

The temple is built in the Nagara style of architecture interspersed with modern influences. The entire temple is adorned with relief carvings depicting the scenes from mythology. 101 skilled pundits from Benares, headed by Acharya Vishvanath Shastri, carved the idols of the temple. One can find a number of friezes and artistic sculptures add to the aesthetic beauty of this temple. The temple has been designed by Sir Chandra Chatterjee (1873-1966), who combined the architectural styles of Orissa style sanctuaries and Mughal arcades. The highest tower in the temple reaches a height of 165ft, while the ancillary towers reach 116ft. The Geeta Bhavan, a hall adorned with beautiful paintings depicting scenes from Indian mythology. There is also a temple dedicated to Buddha in this complex with fresco paintings describing his life and work.

How to Reach:
by Road: Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach the monument, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis or metro rail.
by Rail: Nearest Railway Station: New Delhi Railway Station
by Air: Nearest International Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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