Largest Hindu Temple Outside India Unveiled in New Jersey
In the heart of central New Jersey, a masterpiece of divine devotion and architectural splendor has emerged – the largest Hindu temple outside India in the modern era.
As visitors from across the nation flock to its campus this week for an exclusive sneak peek, the temple whispers tales of selfless service and unwavering devotion, etched in the very stones that grace its spires, pillars, and archways.
People Also Read- Vivek Ramaswamy Net Worth
A Monumental Feat
Crafting this opulent testament to faith required an awe-inspiring 4.7 million hours of labor from dedicated artisans and volunteers.
They meticulously hand-carved two million cubic feet of stone, sourced from Italy and Bulgaria, which traversed over 8,000 miles to reach the shores of New Jersey.
Like a colossal jigsaw puzzle, these stones were assembled to birth the largest modern-era Hindu temple, resting on a sprawling 126-acre expanse, opening its doors to the public very soon.
A Triumph of Faith
While it claims the title of the largest Hindu temple outside India in the modern era, the world’s grandest temple complex still remains the Angkor Wat, a breathtaking marvel erected in the 12th century in Cambodia.
Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, it has earned UNESCO World Heritage status as a testament to human ingenuity.
In contrast, the Robbinsville temple is part of a legacy built by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a global religious and civic organization within the Swaminarayan sect.
The Essence of Service and Devotion
Service and devotion, the cornerstones of the Swaminarayan sect, have been the driving forces behind this majestic temple’s construction in central New Jersey.
Yogi Trivedi, a Hinduism scholar at Columbia University, emphasizes how these values form the soul of this grand edifice.
As he delves into the Swaminarayan faith tradition, Trivedi believes that the core teachings encourage followers to see the divine in all beings, a principle that transcends caste and class divisions.
A Temple of Unity
This monumental temple stands as the third “Akshardham” or “abode of the divine” established by BAPS, following those in New Delhi and Gujarat.
BAPS, which will soon celebrate its 50th year in North America, oversees a network of over 1,200 temples and 3,850 centers worldwide.
The temple’s construction journey was not without its trials, as it faced scrutiny and a 2021 civil lawsuit alleging labor exploitation and subpar working conditions.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2021, alleged forced labor and harsh working conditions. However, as of now, twelve of the nineteen plaintiffs have retracted their allegations, and the lawsuit is under investigation.
Yogi Trivedi emphasizes that BAPS continues to fully cooperate with the ongoing inquiry. Notably, the lawsuit raised important questions about the thin line between selfless service and uncompensated work, a concept deeply ingrained in the faith’s ethos.
A Temple of Inclusivity
The temple’s doors have swung open to families from every corner of the country, welcoming them to its splendid campus.
Devotees exchange greetings and bow in reverence to saffron-clad monks.
The ambiance becomes more sacred as ceremonies unfold before the 49-foot-tall statue of Bhagwan Nilkanth Varni, who later became Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the sect’s founder.
A Sanctuary of Harmony
This temple transcends boundaries, extending its warm embrace to all religions and communities.
As Nikita Patel, a visitor, meditates before the deity, she expresses the temple’s message of peace and inclusivity.
Avani Patel, another visitor, is awestruck by the temple’s opulence and its values.
She proudly recalls her contribution as a volunteer in constructing this marvel and believes in passing down these profound values to future generations.
A Universal Sanctuary
Yogi Trivedi reminds us that this temple is not just a Hindu place of worship.
It transcends ethnic and religious lines, embodying universal values that resonate across all creeds.
It strives to convey these timeless principles to all who enter its sacred precincts.
In essence, the grand temple stands as a symbol of devotion, service, and unity, inviting all to witness the embodiment of timeless values in stone and spirit.
The largest Hindu temple outside India in the modern era now graces New Jersey, a testament to the boundless heights human dedication can reach.