A historic moment for devotees of Hinduism and admirers of Indian culture was created when Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey was inaugurated on 08 October 2023 under the auspices of its spiritual head Mahant Swami Maharaj. It is one of the largest Hindu temples in the world built outside India. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir in tiny Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, about 90 km south of New York’s Times Square or about 289 km north of Washington DC, has been built by more than 12,500 volunteers volunteering to do so.
This Swaminarayan Temple, built outside India, is said to be the second largest Hindu temple in the world after Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Swaminarayan Akshardham stands as an epitome of dedication, tradition and artistic endeavor. The construction of this huge temple started in 2015 and was completed in 2023 with its unique design, spiritual significance and commitment to sustainability.
The design of the temple embodies the wisdom of ancient Indian temple building, incorporating elements taken from Hindu scriptures, architecture and culture.
Its most remarkable features are the 10,000 statues, intricate carvings of Indian musical instruments and dance forms and much more. This architectural delight and a reflection of the rich eternal Indian heritage that it represents.
It measures 255 feet x 345 feet x 191 feet.
This temple is built in an area of 185 acres. The height of this temple is 191 feet.
The stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata are etched on the stones installed in the temple. More than 150 Indian musical instruments and all the major dance forms are carved on the pillars and walls of the temple. According to Brahmaviharidas Swami, in-charge of the Akshardham temple built in Abu Dhabi, ‘The best way to preserve art is its rebirth. BAPS has been able to revive the ancient art in its own way.
This temple has water from 400 rivers and lakes including the holy river Ganga. The stones of this temple were brought from different countries of the world.
New Jersey Akshardham Temple is probably the second largest temple in the world. The temple complex consists of a main temple, 12 sub-temples, nine shikharas (spire-like structures) and nine pyramidal pinnacles, with the largest elliptical dome ever built in traditional stone architecture.
Distinctive features of the temple-
This temple is the second largest Hindu temple currently built outside India. Four types of stones that have been used in building this temple are lime stone, pink sandstone, marble and granite. Limestone was brought from Bulgaria and Turkey, marble was sourced from Greece and Italy, granite from India and China and Sandstone was also brought from India. A sacred lake called Brahmakud has also been created in the temple premises, that contains water from the sacred rivers of India and America.
Stones carved in India-
This beautiful temple was designed in India. Stones were extracted from many parts of Europe and then sent to India, where they were carved. Then they were then sent to America.
Delaware Governor John Carney and Congressman Steny Hoyer also attended the temple’s inauguration ceremony. “It is the second largest Hindu temple on the planet and obviously the largest in the Western Hemisphere,” said BAPS motivational speaker Gyanvatsaldas Swami. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 8, on the 90th birthday of Mahant Swami Maharaj. He said, ‘The basic objective of building the temple is to inspire people with values.
According to Indian scriptures, the four pillars represent four aspects of Ekantik dharma that encompass the wisdom of lord Swaminarayan. These pillars are Dharma, Gyan, Vairagya and Bhakti.Therefore, it is a monument dedicated to Indian culture and tradition and the supreme Lord Swaminarayan.