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 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.