- Several week-long events were held to celebrate the temple and its leaders, underscoring the temple's commitment to spiritual enlightenment and the shared essence of humanity across diverse beliefs.
Lawmakers and dignitaries have been visiting the Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville last week ahead of its inauguration yesterday (Oct.8). Described as “a symbol of unity, spirituality, and cultural appreciation, reflecting the shared values that bind people from diverse backgrounds,” the 183-acre complex, billed as the largest in the U.S., will be open to accessible to the general public on Oct. 18.
Several week-long events were held to celebrate the temple and its leaders, underscoring its commitment to spiritual enlightenment and the shared essence of humanity across diverse beliefs. The Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a spiritual, volunteer-driven organization, dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the Hindu values of faith, service and global harmony.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Delaware Governor John Carney, and Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York were some of the dignitaries at the inauguration. The inauguration ceremony concluded with fireworks, which “symbolized the spirit of celebration that lit up the hearts of all those in attendance.”
On Oct. 7, the eve of the inauguration, the temple hosted a delegation of ambassadors and representatives from the United Nations including leaders from Cambodia, Eritrea, Grenada, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Timor Leste, Mongolia, South Africa, Maldives, as well as delegations from Poland, Costa Rica, Brazil, Lebanon, Bhutan, and the UN Office of Counterterrorism.
BAPS says “the temple is a testament to the vision of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the late spiritual leader of BAPS, and represents the culmination of years of dedicated effort by over 12,500 volunteers from around the world.” The outside of the temple was built with non-traditional Bulgarian limestone, “to withstand cold New Jersey winters,” a temple volunteer told NBC News. The inside features stone sourced from all over the world, including Greece, Italy and India, and a traditional Indian stepwell contains waters from 300 bodies in India and all 50 U.S. states. Along the temple walls are carvings of historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.