R E LI G IO N A N D C U LT U RAL N ATIO N ALI S M : T H E A K S H ARD H A M C O M P L E X I N D E L H I – TAASA Review September 2013

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This article was originally found in the September 2013 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 22, Issue 3, Page 7).

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Christiane Brosius Akshardam Complex, central temple structure "Akshardham has happened at the dawn of 21st century with the commitment and dedication of one million volunteers.

What has happened today at Akshardham inspires me and gives me the confidence that we can do it! The realization of developed India is certainly possible before 2020 with the millions of ignited minds like you." T his statement by the then President of India, Abdul Kalam, made at the opening speech of the Akshardham Complex in 2005 is emblematic for a new urban landscape, emerging in the context of economic liberalisation in India.

This architectural site is by no means the first and only spectacular one on the subcontinent; there is a `wave’ of initiatives to construct mega-buildings and sites for residential, commercial, leisure and religious purposes. With fewer than 10 million people in 1991, the urban agglomeration of the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) counts more than 21 million people today and is growing at an increasing pace, creating enormous tensions in relation to construction activities, and access to and battles around physical space...