In Robbinsville, New Jersey, a considerable distance from India, stands the largest Hindu temple in the United States, known as the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham. This grand temple, dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a prominent 19th-century Hindu spiritual leader, draws its inspiration from his fifth spiritual successor, the esteemed saint Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Recognized for his profound impact on millions of lives, he raised societal standards and, most significantly, transformed individuals by guiding them away from negative traits such as lust, anger, greed, and envy.
The construction of this monumental Mahamandir began in 2015 and is scheduled for inauguration on October 8, 2023, with the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj and distinguished dignitaries.
Yagnesh Patel emphasized the historical significance of this temple, underlining its role in educating visitors about Indian art, architecture, and culture. He pointed out that it enriches the nation’s cultural tapestry and serves as an educational platform for Americans and others interested in Indian heritage.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville spans 185 acres, a testament to the dedication and expertise of over 12,500 volunteers from across North America. These volunteers came together to create an unprecedented landmark that is expected to endure for over a millennium.
Similar to other Akshardham temples in India, this religious edifice was conceptualized in India by a team of BAPS swamis and volunteers. Stones were sourced from various parts of Europe, sent to India for artistic craftsmanship, and then transported to the US. There, volunteers from diverse backgrounds meticulously assembled them under the guidance of volunteer artisans from India, fitting the pieces together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
As the temple nears completion, multiple generations of volunteers are working tirelessly, adding the final artistic touches. The intricate carvings demand expertise, patience, and meticulous attention to detail that have spanned several months.
Volunteer Jena Patel shared her motivation for participating in this monumental project, expressing gratitude to her guru and the inspiration she drew from him. She highlighted the historical significance of building a Mahamandir to showcase and promote Indian culture in the United States, calling it an opportunity to make a lasting impact.
Sarika Patel from New Jersey shared her transformative journey as a volunteer at Akshardham, emphasizing the temple’s message of service to humanity. She believes this monumental place will provide solace and peace to all who visit.
The inauguration celebration will span a week and is expected to be attended by several US congressmen, senators, officials from the Biden Administration, and state governors.
At the temple site in New Jersey, the ground level and main mandir are receiving their final touches. Progress is swift, with the graceful crown of the Mahashikhar, known as the golden pot or Kalash, symbolizing completeness and perfection. Above it soars the flag or Dhaja, representing victory and the triumph of good over evil.
Within Akshardham, artistic stone statues and figurines depict the timeless traditions of Indian music, dance, and performing arts. It also pays homage to the great sages, saints, and spiritual luminaries of India and Hinduism.
The current Guinness Book of World Records holder for the world’s largest comprehensive Hindu temple is the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi, India, which spans a 100-acre complex. The Akshardham temple in the US is poised to surpass its own record. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha has established approximately 1,400 temples in India, the UK, US, Canada, Kenya, South Africa, and Australia.
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