BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, the largest Hindu temple in the United States, opened its doors on Sunday, October 8th, in New Jersey. Situated in the city of Robbinsville, New Jersey, this temple is heralded as the largest Hindu temple outside of India in the modern era.
In a letter to BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed the profound spiritual significance of this occasion for devotees worldwide, stating, “It is an occasion of profound spiritual significance for the vast legion of devotees worldwide.” The temple will be accessible to the public starting from October 18th.
This magnificent temple is a testament to unparalleled craftsmanship. Its construction involved four distinct varieties of marble from Italy and limestone from Bulgaria. These precious materials embarked on an extraordinary journey, spanning thousands of miles from their origins to India and ultimately reaching their final destination in New Jersey, as reported by the Associated Press. On-site, skilled artisans meticulously assembled these intricately carved pieces, akin to assembling a colossal jigsaw puzzle, resulting in the creation of this monumental Hindu temple.
Covering an expansive 126-acre area, this architectural masterpiece owes its existence to the unwavering dedication of artisans and volunteers who devoted approximately 4.7 million hours to painstakingly hand-carve around two million cubic feet of stone, according to the report.
The temple’s walls are adorned with carvings of historical figures, including prominent figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, as highlighted by Yogi Trivedi, a temple volunteer and a scholar of religion at Columbia University, in a statement to NBC News. He marveled at the temple’s beauty, saying, “I wake up every morning and scratch my eyes thinking, ‘Am I still in central New Jersey?’ It’s like being transported to another world, specifically to India.”
The construction of the Akshardham temple, a collaborative effort involving 12,500 volunteers from around the world, commenced in 2011, according to PTI.
This monumental achievement marks a significant milestone for the Hindu community in the United States and stands as a symbol of the dedication, craftsmanship, and unity of its creators. As it opens its doors to the public, it is poised to become a source of inspiration and a place of spiritual significance for devotees and visitors alike.