Thursday, January 14, 2010

Akshardham Temple visit

The Swami Narayan Akshardham temple at Delhi is a magnificent structure. It is not only a temple. As the promoters of the temple proudly claims it 'epitomises 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss'.

But the visit to Akhshardham temple in Delhi to learn more about the rich history of India was a great disappointment.

The temple is one of the most security conscious structures in India. To enter the temple you need to surrender most of your belongings including your cell phone and camera and go through a time consuming security check stricter than US Airport. There is also a strict dress code for Women, which loudly proclaims shorts; short skirts and burqas are not allowed.

Short skirts and burqas both banned ?????? Why????? Women revealing too much of flesh may be offensive to some people but why dresses that do not reveal anything is banned?

The temple complex contains a large number of statues and sculptures of great beauty.

Bhagwan Swami Narayan's life story is the basis of most of the exhibitions including the Giant screen film and if you are not a Bhakth of the Bhagwan you may not be much impressed.

Soon I was undergoing the much awaited 12 minute boat ride termed Sanskruti Vihar 'to experience the 10000 years of India's glorious heritage'.

I thought the ride will start with the Indus Valley civilization as it the oldest known civilization of India. But I was surprised to realize that no mention was made of Harappa and Mohanjedaro in the show, which was supposed to be about India's history. Why?

The show starts with the Vedic period of Indian history and it tries to make people believe that it is 10000 years old. Most of the Historians are of the opinion that the Vedic period must have started from around 1500BC, i.e. only about 3500 years ago. Then how they got this measure of 10000 years?

I saw a large number of school students in uniform among the visitors to this Boat ride. Will they be mislead by this distorted history?

The show also claims many 'firsts' to the Indian Vedic civilization, including the birthplace of democracy, aircrafts, and Sea Trade.

Though the temple is a grand and beautiful structure, the visit for me at least was a big disappointment.


  1. I was watching a very inspiring program called The Story of India. The anchor, Micael Wood, at times refers to India as 'Mother India'. I enjoyed it, but then, I don't want to get entangled into historicity, the past and all that.

    The Hindu view is that Atma is beyond time and that 'Time' and 'Space' are creations of the mind. Infact, I just picked up Sri Aurobindo's Secret of the Veda which gives a very different and deeper view than what is understood.

  2. Education is a serious business and it is not right to impart incorrect information. This is a matter of concern and very disappointing. I guess the kids know what they are learning here is not 'scientific..?

  3. History should not be distorted to suit anyone...

    this world needs more people like you to convey the facts..

  4. Phase shift, India was and is home to a rich variety of philosophies, both nastika and astika in character.
    Many did not believe in divinity of the Vedas. For example Dharmakirthi an exponent of Cārvāka philosophy wrote in 'Pramanvarthik' like this in 7th century AD.
    "Believing that the Veda are standard (holy or divine), believing in a Creator for the world,
    Bathing in holy waters for gaining punya, having pride (vanity) about one's caste,
    Performing penance to absolve sins,
    Are the five symptoms of having lost one's sanity".

    The good thing was these philosophies fought in intellectual debates and not on battle fields.

  5. IHM,
    Yes I hope the Teachers will inform the students that the history of India depicted there is some what distorted. If you discard the contents, the Boat ride into India's past is a beatiful concept and organisers have done a good job in making it lively and interesting. I wish the National Museum which depicts Indian history authentically will try to do some thing like this to present history scientifically and in an interesting way.

  6. Happy Kitten,
    Yes,it is dangerous to distort history for narrow socio-political gains in the present day World. But almost all organised religions and groups including political Parties of all colors do it again and again.We should be vigilant not to be taken in by such propaganda.

  7. I agree, Charakan. We see the term 'Vedahametam' not once but twice in the Purusha Suktam - to convey that the Truth is beyond intellect and beyond knowledge.
    Even Nirvana Shatakam by Adi Sankara says so - 'na veda na yagna'. He didn't subscribe to an external God.

    Swami Vivekananda sums it up:- After long searches here and there, in temples and in churches, in earths and in heavens, at last you come back, completing the circle from where you started, to your own soul and find that He for whom you have been seeking all over the world, on whom you were looking as the mystery of all mysteries shrouded in the clouds, is nearest of the near, is your own Self, the reality of your life, body, and soul.

  8. banning burkha must be for security reason.
    history today is what the left, right or centrists claim it to be.truth is what is constructed by vested interests.
    i missed a chance to see the temple-didnt have the guts to brave2006 delhi winter.

  9. It would have sounded much better if there was a mention abt security reasons for banning burqa. But the security instructions do not mention that probably because a full and extensive body search is conducted before entry. The mention of burqa not allowed is there in a board showing the dress code along with the ban of shorts ,short skirts and lungis .


Comments are welcome especially if you do not think like me. But anonymous comments behind masks and those not relevant to the post are not encouraged.