Mar 13, 2006

A day with Swaminarayan

No..he is not my golf coach or tennis partner. He, in fact, was a 18th century saint, whose temple we visited this weekend. The place is Akshardham, in Delhi and its a must see for whoever visits Delhi.

The 'story' of Swaminaryan is a riveting one. Born to a poor brahmin family in the 1700's, he got bored of performing small time miracles and left home at the age of 12. From Ayodhya he started a trek that took him 7 yrs - going north towards the upper reaches of the himalayas in the month of october (wearing a small dhoti), crossing mount trishul, manosarovar, then down to nepal , assam, sunderbans, orrissa, down the east coast to madurai, kannyakumari, up the west coast thru maharashtra finally ending in gujrat.

Its a great story..and if you are interested you can look here for the rest..but obviously i dont believe 80% of it. But..thats not the point.

The point is that the temple in Delhi is a magnificient achievement. If you visited the link above you will see why. Its fantastically done up and beautifully maintained and the best thing is that they have managed to create a theme park revolving around religion. They havent commercialised it, but at the same time they have managed to package it in such a way that it can rivet any person of any class, age or religious inclination.

And the best part is along with the greatness of swaminarayan, the place tries to remind you about the greatness of the indian past, starting from the vedic ages to the mid 16th century, and tries to make you feel proud of your heritage. Quite inspiring really. Next time you are here, check it out.

No comments: