By Reena Bhardwaj New Jersey [US], September 25 (ANI): Thousands of miles away from India, in Robbinsville, New Jersey, stands the US's largest Hindu temple, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham.
This majestic Mahamandir (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.
His contributions have been hailed by Hindus and dignitaries of other faiths as truly transforming the lives of millions of individuals. He improved societal standards and, most importantly, the innate nature of people, eradicating them from lust, anger, greed, and envy.
The construction of this Mahamandir began in 2015 and is set to be inaugurated by Mahant Swami Maharaj, and dignitaries on October 8, 2023.
Yagnesh Patel said, "History is being chiseled here. With the temple opening up to all visitors, they will learn Indian art and architecture, culture. This Mandir adds to the fabric of this nation. It's not only a proud moment for many Americans to celebrate but, also when I brought my neighbour Joe, even he was very eager to know about Indian culture, Indian art, and more specifically about Hinduism. This would be one spot that we can bring them. They will not only learn about the culture, about the art, but also the devotion that over 12,500 volunteers who came together, either from three days to three years."The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville spread across 185 acres, is a testament to the love, dedication, and skill of over 12,500 volunteers who came together from all corners of North America to build an unprecedented landmark that will last for over a thousand years.
Like the other Akshardham temples in India, this religious structure was designed in India by a team of BAPS swamis and volunteers. The stone was quarried in several parts of Europe and shipped to India, where it was artistically chiseled. The cargo was then shipped to the US where volunteers of all backgrounds assembled them under the supervision of volunteer artisans from India. And that's how the Mahamandir or the grand temple came together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. As the temple is veering towards completion, round the clock, several varied generations of volunteers are meticulously adding finishing touches. The carvings demand expertise, patient effort, and attention to detail that has stretched across months.
Jena Patel, a volunteer said, "My guru and what he's done for me, that was a reason why I was able to drop everything and come here. She was my inspiration. He has lived a very inspiring life. And it was history that we built a monument, a Mahamandir here to showcase and spread our Indian culture here. And this is a part of my identity of who I am as a Hindu American, and it was a way to be part of something big, something that will impact generations to come. And this is not just something for me, but it's a small way to say thank you and to make an impact for a lifetime."Sarika Patel from New Jersey, shares her transformative journey as a volunteer at Akshardham. Through teamwork, sacrifice, and respect for humanity, she believes this monumental place will offer solace and peace to all.
For her Akshardham is a voyage of inspiration, much beyond the temple's breathtaking tapestry of artistry. Its profound message of service to humanity resonates deeply with many like her. Sarika Patel told ANI, "This Mahamandir is something that's going to stand here for years and million million million years to come. Not only our kids but our kids, all the generations from now will be able to see this and we had the opportunity to make that impact for the years and 1000s of generations to come. And for that, I don't think anyone ever would give that opportunity. Whether they were born here anywhere in the world."The inauguration celebration will include a week-long celebration. Several US congressmen, senators, officials with the Biden Administration, as well as, state governors plan to attend this grand ceremony.
At the temple site in New Jersey, the ground level and main mandir are getting the final touches. Work is moving towards completion swiftly. The golden pot, or Kalash, gracefully crowns the Mahashikhar, symbolizing completeness and perfection. Above it flies the flag or Dhaja, representing victory and the triumph of good over evil.
Within Akshardham, artistic stone statutes and statuettes depict the timeless tradition of Indian music, dance, and performing arts. It also pays tribute to the great sages, saints, and spiritual personalities 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 sits on a 100-acre complex, and the Akshardham temple in the US is all set to break its own records. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha has built about 1,400 temples in India, the UK, US, Canada, Kenya, South Africa, and Australia. (ANI)