- The world’s second-largest Hindu temple outside India to be inaugurated in the US on October 8.
- The temple is located about 90 km south of Times Square, New York in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey.
- Hailed as the world’s largest Hindu temple outside India “in the modern era”, the Akshardham temple has been built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham organization.
- This grand temple is dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a Hindu spiritual leader of the 19th century, and was inspired by his 5th spiritual successor and renowned saint Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
- The temple has been built by over 12,500 volunteers from across the US over a span of 12 years, from 2011 to 2023.
- The unique Hindu temple design includes one main shrine, 12 sub-shrines, nine shikhars (spire-like structures), and nine pyramidal shikhars. It is designed to apparently last a thousand years.
- In its construction, four types of stone including limestone, pink sandstone, marble, and granite were used to give it lasting strength. These were sources from around the world including limestone from Bulgaria and Turkey; Marble from Greece, Turkey, and Italy; Granite from India and China; and Sandstone from India.
- It will be open for visitors from October 18.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is the world’s second-largest Hindu temple after Cambodia’s 12th-century Angkor Wat Temple.
The US state of New Jersey is set to inaugurate the world’s second-largest Hindu temple outside India on October 8. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in the little Robbinsville Township of New Jersey has been built by over 12,500 volunteers from across the US in over 12 years.
The temple spans over 183 acres and measures 255 feet x 345 feet x 191 feet. It is currently being visited by thousands of Hindus and people from other faiths across the country. It also includes 10,000 statues and statuettes in accordance with ancient Hindu scriptures and culture.
The temple is considered a landmark of Hindu culture and architecture in the US and will open for visitors on October 18, ten days after the inauguration under the guidance of Mahant Swami Maharaj. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham is also the largest Hindu temple outside India in the modern era.
The historic temple has been designed to reflect ancient Hindu culture with statues, carvings of Indian instruments, and dance forms. It includes a main shrine, 12 sub-shrines, nine shikhars, and nine pyramidal shikhars. Furthermore, four types of stone have been used in the construction of the temple – limestone, pink sandstone, marble, and granite – imported from different countries that can help the architecture survive extreme heat and cold.
Last month on the occasion of Rakshabandhan, a historic Kalash Pujan took place in the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in the presence of spiritual leader Mahant Swami Maharaj on August 30. The event was held to honour the contributions of volunteers over several years in the creation of Akshardham.
BAPS is a spiritual, volunteer-driven fellowship dedicated to improving society through individual growth, through the values of faith, service, and global harmony. It employs thousands of full-time and part-time volunteers in over 100 communities in North America and 3,500 communities globally. Its current spiritual leader is Mahant Swami Maharaj who works to promote spiritual equality.
Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. He became the President of BAPS after Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.
(With inputs from agencies)