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BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham

In a momentous event, the largest Hindu temple outside of Asia has opened its doors in Robbinsville, New Jersey. Spanning an impressive 183 acres, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, named after its founding organization, is a marvel that rivals some of the grandest temples in India itself.

The temple’s official inauguration is set for October 8th, with public access commencing on the 18th. This achievement marks a significant milestone for Indian Americans and Hindu Americans, embodying the American Dream for many.

Yogi Trivedi, a temple volunteer and scholar at Columbia University, expressed his awe, saying, “It’s like being transported to another world, specifically to India.” The temple promises to become a pilgrimage site for Hindus from around the globe, offering a sacred haven in the heart of New Jersey.

However, the temple’s journey to completion has not been without controversy. Constructed with the help of 12,500 volunteers from around the world, the Akshardham project faced a labor lawsuit that shed light on labor conditions and allegations of forced labor, grueling hours, inhospitable living conditions, and caste discrimination.

The lawsuit has since been put on hold, with some plaintiffs seeking to dismiss their claims. BAPS Akshardham officials emphasize that the temple will be open to people of all backgrounds, and its walls bear carvings of historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.

The temple’s construction itself is a cultural blend, with materials sourced globally and nods to American history. Local concerns, including the temple’s height, were addressed through community collaboration.

To withstand New Jersey’s winters, non-traditional Bulgarian limestone was used on the exterior, while the interior showcases stones from Greece, Italy, and India. Remarkably, women played pivotal roles in managing the project, a rarity in temple construction.

Yogi Trivedi sees the temple’s design as a reflection of the inclusive community it aims to create. He says, “That kind of inclusivity is not just talked about, it’s actually seen on the walls.”

As this monumental temple opens its doors, it symbolizes unity and diversity while raising important questions about labor exploitation and the balance between religious service and work. It is a testament to the convergence of modern Jersey and ancient India, offering a space of contemplation and celebration for all who visit.

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In a momentous event for both the Hindu community and admirers of art and culture, a grand celebration! In Robbinsville Township, New Jersey, a masterpiece is about to shine. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, the world’s largest Hindu temple outside India, is set to open its doors on October 8th.

This stunning temple was crafted with love by over 12,500 volunteers from across the United States, working tirelessly for 12 years, from 2011 to 2023. It’s a true labor of devotion.

Located just 60 miles south of Times Square in New York and 180 miles north of Washington, DC, this temple is colossal. Imagine a structure that’s 255 feet long, 345 feet wide, and 191 feet tall, sitting on a sprawling 183-acre site. It’s a sight to behold!

But it’s not just about size. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham is a work of art. It pays homage to ancient Hindu scriptures and showcases the beauty of Indian culture. Inside, you’ll find a breathtaking collection of 10,000 statues and sculptures that bring Hinduism to life. And that’s not all – the temple features intricate carvings of Indian musical instruments and traditional dances. It’s like a journey through India’s rich heritage.

People from all walks of life, including Hindus and those of other faiths, are flocking to witness this marvel before its official opening. It promises to be a place of unity and understanding for all.

But there’s more to the story. This temple is possibly the second-largest Hindu temple globally, after Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its incredible Khmer architecture. It’s dedicated to Lord Vishnu, just like the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham. These temples, though far apart in distance, share a common mission – preserving ancient cultures and religious traditions.

As we eagerly await the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham’s grand opening in October, it’s clear that this temple is more than just bricks and mortar. It’s a symbol of devotion, culture, and unity, transcending boundaries and bringing spirituality and artistry to American soil.

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