World’s largest Hindu temple outside India in modern era to be inaugurated in October

PTI, Sep 24, 2023, 4:10 PM IST


The world’s largest Hindu temple constructed outside India in the modern era is all set to be inaugurated in New Jersey on October 8.

About 60 miles (90 km) south of Times Square, New York, or about 180 miles (289 km) north of Washington DC, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in the little Robbinsville Township of New Jersey has been built by an army of more than 12,500 volunteers from across the US in over 12 years from 2011 to 2023.

Being currently visited by thousands of Hindus and people of other faiths every day from across the country ahead of its formal inauguration, the temple as popular as Akshardham measures 255 ft x 345 ft x 191 ft and spans over 183 acres.

It has been designed according to ancient Hindu scriptures and includes design elements from ancient Indian culture including 10,000 statues and statuettes, carvings of Indian musical instruments and dance forms.

The temple is possibly the second largest after Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

The 12th-century Angkor Wat Temple Complex, the largest Hindu temple in the World, is spread over 500 acres and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Akshardham temple in New Delhi which was opened for the public in November 2005 is spread over 100 acres.

“Our spiritual leader (Pramukh Swami Maharaj) had a vision that in the Western hemisphere there should be a place which can be a place for all people of the world, not only for Hindus, not only for Indians, not only for certain groups of people; it should be for all of the world where people can come and learn some values, universal values based in Hindu tradition,” Aksharvatsaldas Swami from BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha told PTI in an interview.

Senior religious leaders of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha rarely give media interviews.

“It was his wish, and it was his Sankalp (pledge). According to his Sankalp, this Akshardham has been built with traditional Hindu temple architecture,” he said.

The unique Hindu temple design includes one main shrine, 12 sub-shrines, nine shikhars (spire-like structures), and nine pyramidal shikhars. Akshardham houses the largest elliptical dome of traditional stone architecture ever constructed. It is designed to last a thousand years.

At Akshardham, every stone has a story. The four types of stone selected include limestone, pink sandstone, marble, and granite, which can withstand extreme heat and cold.

Nearly two million cubic feet of stone was used in the construction and was sourced from different sites around the world, including limestone from Bulgaria and Turkey; Marble from Greece, Turkey and Italy; Granite from India and China; Sandstone from India and other decorative stones from Europe, Asia, Latin America.

The Brahma Kund, a traditional Indian stepwell, contains water from over 300 bodies of water from around the world, including the holy rivers of India and all 50 states of the US. Sustainable practices of BAPS include a solar panel farm, a fly ash concrete mix, and the planting of over two million trees worldwide in the past few decades.

Volunteers from across the US helped with the assembly of Akshardham. They were guided by artisan volunteers from India. Millions of volunteer hours have been dedicated to the making of Akshardham.

Said to be a landmark of Hindu culture and architecture in the Western hemisphere, Akshardham would be formally inaugurated on October 8 under the guidance of BAPS spiritual head Mahant Swami Maharaj. It will be open for visitors from October 18.

“It (voluntarism) is our tradition. There are so many references in our traditional Hindu Parampara (tradition), or scriptures or our lineage where you can Seva in building a temple is very meritorious,” Aksharvatsaldas Swami said.

“But particularly in this temple, it has been a unique thing because of the scale of the Maha mandir. So the number of volunteers would naturally grow,” he said.

“This is a lifetime opportunity,” said one of the volunteers from Alabama, who has left her work and has been leading a team of 20 women volunteers as part of the waterproofing team. So did another volunteer Ravi Patel, an accountant from Atlanta.

“The mandir has transformed me,” he said.

BAPS officials said volunteers have devoted millions of hours of selfless service to the temple. They range from 18 years old to over 60, from students to CEOs of companies, doctors, engineers and architects. Many of them have taken leave from work for months and have rented condos near the construction site to volunteer their services in building the temple.

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

BJP will win all 28 Karnataka seats in Lok Sabha elections: Yediyurappa, seeing assembly poll leads

Won’t be surprised if INDIA alliance blames EVMs for assembly polls outcome: Ajit Pawar

Expected Cong victory in Telangana, Chhattisgarh and close fight in MP: K’taka CM Siddaramaiah

Assembly polls: Results won’t have impact on INDIA bloc, says Pawar

People have endorsed PM Modi’s leadership, rejected Congress’ false promises: BJP

INDIA bloc leaders to meet in Delhi on Dec 6 to chalk out strategy for LS polls

CM Chouhan gives credit to PM Modi’s poll campaign as BJP leads in Madhya Pradesh

Related Articles More

Trump calls Biden the ‘destroyer’ of democracy despite his own efforts to overturn 2020 election

A suspected bomb blast kills at least 3 Christian worshippers in southern Philippines

Eight killed in terror attack in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Gilgit Baltistan

COP28: India, China refrain from signing pledge to triple world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030

7.6-magnitude earthquake strikes off the Philippines and a tsunami warning is issued



Halalban by Uttarapradesh government

Unnakki utsava Mudigere

Singer Gurukiran speaking about Kambala

Bangalore kambala preparations

Latest Additions

Karur Vysya Bank opens three new branches in Tamil Nadu, one in Karnataka

Karur Vysya Bank opens three new branches in Tamil Nadu, one in Karnataka

Two more Indians jailed for conspiring to steal apparel from Singapore retail store

Mkts to focus on state elections outcome, global trends, RBI’s interest rate decision: Analysts

BJP will win all 28 Karnataka seats in Lok Sabha elections: Yediyurappa, seeing assembly poll leads

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.