The site of the terrorist siege in the September of 2002 that took the lives of 29 devotees, a place of worship and, in my mind, a tourist site that warranted just a quick 2-hour stopover on a visit to Gandhinagar, Gujarat; that was all I thought of Akshardham Temple located 30km from Ahmedabad.
Both my brother and I were visiting relatives in Ahmedabad with our parents and we decided to spend an afternoon at the temple. My brother was hardly eager initially. He was more keen on spending his time at a mall. But go we did, entering the temple premises at around 2 pm after a strict security screening.
Akshardham Temple at dusk. Image courtesy Wiki.
We spent time in the temple museum, walked around the beautiful premises (cameras and mobile phones are not allowed inside, so photography is a no-no), and watched a movie on Nilkanth’s life. But, more on that in another post.
We bought tickets for the 7:15 water show. Inaugurated on April 3rd 2010 featuring fireballs and scenes of various hues on water fountains, the show was advertised as a scintillating experience with 4000 nozzles, 2000 lights, over 100 pumps and 12 fireball throwers. The 45-minute show depicts the story of Nachiketa, the child protagonist in an ancient Hindu fable.
I must add, the show did not disappoint. In fact, it was way better than expected - 45 minutes of a story narrated through a mighty impressive medium. In essence, a screen formed by water fountains is the target of projected laser that produces scintillating images. Though, some visual elements were difficult to understand without the narration, these instances were in the minority. Even my brother who was initially wanted to spend his time at a mall said this after the show, “7:15 to 8:00 , on 24th joins the league of the best moments of life till date”. To be honest, even if you do not understand Hindi, and hence the story would make no sense, the show alone makes these 45 minutes a worthwhile experience.
The organizers haven’t made a full-length video of the show, but here is a 2-minute trailer. It does not do full justice to the spectacle. If you do visit you won't be disappointed.