New Jersey, USA – In a historic moment for the global Hindu community, the world’s second-largest Hindu temple outside India is preparing for its formal inauguration on October 8. Nestled approximately 90 kilometers south of Times Square, New York, in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, the Akshardham temple is a testament to devotion, architectural marvel, and cultural preservation.
Constructed by over 12,500 volunteers from across the United States over a span of 12 years, from 2011 to 2023, this monumental temple spans a sprawling 183 acres. It stands as a beacon of Hindu spirituality, dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a revered Hindu spiritual leader from the 19th century, and inspired by his 5th spiritual successor and renowned saint, Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Here’s what you need to know about the Akshardham temple in the United States:
- A Labor of Devotion: The temple’s construction involved the tireless efforts of thousands of volunteers who dedicated their time and skills. This temple stands as a testament to the power of community and faith.
- Architectural Splendor: The Akshardham temple’s design draws inspiration from ancient Hindu scriptures and Indian culture. It boasts an impressive array of design elements, including 10,000 statues and statuettes, intricate carvings of Indian musical instruments, and dance forms.
- Unique Design: The temple features a unique design with one main shrine, 12 sub-shrines, nine shikhars (spire-like structures), and nine pyramidal shikhars, designed to stand the test of time for a millennium.
- Worldly Sourcing: To ensure its lasting strength, the temple’s construction used four types of stone, sourced from around the world. This includes limestone from Bulgaria and Turkey, marble from Greece, Turkey, and Italy, granite from India and China, and sandstone from India.
- Brahma Kund: Within the temple premises, a traditional Indian stepwell known as the ‘Brahma Kund’ is a captivating feature. It contains water collected from more than 300 water bodies worldwide, including the holy rivers of India and all 50 states of the United States.
- Grand Opening: While the temple will be formally inaugurated on October 8, it will open its doors to visitors starting from October 18. Presently, the temple welcomes visitors during specific hours but will be temporarily closed between September 30 and October 17 due to a series of private events. Until September 30, visitors can explore the campus from Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 4:30 pm.
The Akshardham temple in New Jersey represents not only a remarkable architectural achievement but also a symbol of unity, culture, and spirituality that transcends borders and continents. Its grandeur is poised to captivate the hearts of visitors from around the world, serving as a testament to the enduring legacy of Hinduism in the modern era.