Sights & Sounds: Nilkanth Plaza

A captivating exploration of Nilkath Vatika, a lush and tranquil haven nestled within the enchanting grounds of BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham.

Sights & Sounds

At the heart of our journey at Swaminarayan Akshardham lies the spectacular Nilkanth Plaza, where a 49-foot image of Bhagwan Swaminarayan stands, portrayed as a youthful yogi. Known as Nilkanth Varni during his teenage years, he was the founder of the Swaminarayan Hindu tradition. His calm and undisturbed pose, engaged in deep yogic prayer, symbolizes spiritual focus and discipline, echoing his journey, where he fostered compassion, empathy, and service in the hearts of all.

This figure, standing in a powerful yogic posture, isn’t just a statue but an embodiment of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in his teenage years, the founder of the Swaminarayan faith that came into existence over 200 years ago.

Our story takes us back to a 7-year, 8,000-mile journey. A journey of a teenage yogi, Nilkanth Varni, who ventured across India’s vast landscapes, through mountains and rivers, villages and cities. His was a journey of exploration and inspiration, borne out of a deep desire for the betterment of all.

Moved by these experiences, Nilkanth Varni enacted numerous reforms that sought to uplift society, sowing the seeds of the Swaminarayan Sampraday that we know today. His teachings were not just spiritual pathways, but a reminder to society about the indispensable values of equality, inclusivity, and compassion.

Beyond the murti, the plaza holds other treasures: A map of India marking the path Nilkanth Varni travelled during his epic 7-year journey. Representations of the rivers and bodies of water he crossed. Ten pink sandstone canopies providing tranquil spaces for reflection. Stone plaques scattered across the ground that whisper the teachings and values Nilkanth Varni embodied.

The Nilkanth Plaza isn’t just a location, it’s an experience. It’s a journey into history, into faith, into the heart of the Swaminarayan ethos. It’s a location you can spend hours mesmerized by its size and significance to the Akshardham campus, the Swaminarayan community, and the Hindu faith. It’s also a great place to take a pause and capture a picture with your family and friends during a visit to the Akshardham campus.