The world’s largest hindu temple constructed outside India in modern era is set to be inaugurated in New Jersey on October 8. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham houses the largest elliptical dome of traditional stone architecture ever constructed, designed to last a thousand years.
The temple is about 90 km south of Times Square, New York, or about 289 km north of Washington DC. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham has been built by more than 12,500 volunteers from across the US in over 12 years from 2011 to 2023. The temple measures 255 ft x 345 ft x 191 ft and spans over 183 acres.
The temple is located in Robbinsville Township in New Jersey. Ahead of its formal inauguration, the temple is currently visited by thousands of Hindus and people of other faiths every day from across the country.
The Akshardham temple includes design elements from ancient Indian culture including 10,000 statues and statuettes, carvings of Indian musical instruments, and dance forms and has been designed according to ancient Hindu scriptures.
The temple is possibly the second largest after the 12th-century Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, which is the largest Hindu temple in the world. It spreads over 500 acres and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Meanwhile, New Delhi’s Akshardham temple which opened for the public in November 2005 spreads over 100 acres.
The unique Hindu temple design includes one main shrine, 12 sub-shrines, nine shikhars (spire-like structures), and nine pyramidal shikhars. Further, the Akshardham temples are known for their magnificent architecture and grandeur designs. Reportedly, four types of stones have been selected including limestone, pink sandstone, marble, and granite, which can withstand extreme heat and cold.
There will also be a Brahma Kund, a traditional Indian stepwell, which contains water from over 300 bodies of water from around the world, including the holy rivers of India and all 50 states of the US. Sustainable practices of BAPS include a solar panel farm, a fly ash concrete mix, and the planting of over two million trees worldwide in the past few decades.