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$150 million Akshardham temple coming up in New Jersey

Would become the largest Hindu temple in the world.

By The American Bazaar Staff

NEW YORK: In Gandhinagar, Gujarat, it’s spread over 23 acres. In Delhi, on the banks of the river Yamuna, adjacent to the Commonwealth Games Village, it encompasses around 60 acres. But the mammoth Akshardham temple coming up at Robbinsville, New Jersey – dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and built by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the religious leader of the sect – will dwarf both its parent structures in India: it’s estimated to be spread over 162 acres, when finished by schedule, in 2017.

The Bochasanvasi Akshar Purushottam Sansthan (BAPS) is more than a spiritual way of life for the Gujarati community around the world; it’s their way of life as espoused by their religious sect leader Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who draws humungous crowds wherever he visits.

When BAPS finishes their project in New Jersey, which according to a report in The Times of India, would cost over $150 million, they would enter the record books: for building the largest Hindu temple in the world, in terms of acreage. At present, the biggest Hindu temple is the Sri Rangaswami temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, which covers 155.92 acres.

There are only two BAPS temples in the world at present: in Gujarat and Delhi, which serve as religious and cultural centers, and has become popular tourist sites as well.

The Akshardham in Gujarat was inaugurated on November 2, 1992, during the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj. In Delhi, the temple was officially opened on November 6, 2005, and attracts around 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi. The temple has a variety of features to attract tourists, least of all which is a musical fountain display based on the message of the Upanishads. It has exhibitions on incidents from the life of Swaminarayan and the history of India and an IMAX feature on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, Nilkanth.

The Times report says that the temple coming up in New Jersey, named Akshardham Mahamandir, was started in 2013 with a stone-laying ceremony, realizing the 15-year-old dream of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who will visit the site next month, during a tour of the US.

According to an official of BAPS, the work for the temple is being done in Rajasthan where more than 2,000 artisans are working at locations in Dungarpur, Pindwada and Sangwada, and when finished, pieces are being shipped to New Jersey, where a 5,000-strong team is looking after various aspects of the construction and design. Marble from Italy is also being used in the project.

According to the Times report, the main building of the temple in New Jersey will have four floors; the complex will have an exhibit dedicated to Indian history and culture, and a youth activity center. The artisans have taken elements of both south and north Indian temples, and the embellished temple will have ornate pillars and panels depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and ancient scriptures. The halls will have full-size idols of important leaders of the sect.


26 thoughts on “$150 million Akshardham temple coming up in New Jersey”

  1. I would suggest for you, a detailed study of this org. I’m damn sure you will be enlightened by facts.
    what charities the org has done till date! Approximately 165+ various social activities are being done by BAPS. People gets inspired by these cultural monuments, many people have quit addiction of drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. People learns moral values from these temples.
    This is nothing buddy! BAPS has built 1100+ such temples across the globe.
    Just have a visit at Swaminarayan Akshardham, New Delhi, India at least once. Many great personalities have visited and they recommend others too for the same.
    There must be a reason why people gets attracted to this org.
    First experience it and then review it.

  2. specialist in temple work i m makrana marble supplier and flooring work and available any kind of marble Ex. white marble slab, albeta, doongri,and any range

  3. True. Statement. By ishwara . Even after one year of modi regime. Indians toilets are still filthy. Which brings shame to India. Very very poor countries of South America. Or Africa or. Eastern Europe. And other Asian countries have much cleaner bathrooms ..shame to these.
    babas and followers who just think to build largest structures outside and inside India to prove their wealth and power of vote bank

  4. U can build dozens of restrooms at your home or elsewhere .. Better spend 95 % of ur income in building restrooms instead of spending it in movies n n other nonsense things. First get full info on how is thi org is socially contributing and then argue Its very lame n ridiculous to compare a temple wid restrooms its like comparing urself wid donkeys

    1. Hello K Singh- since you started topic on “grandiosity” of the temple, may i know how many people in your family that lives with you…for e.g. say 5 then how many bedroom apartment or house you leave…you all 5 can stay in 1 hall of 10 by 10 size….do you do that? Our Bhagwan/God has given so much to all of us…why cant we build grant to him in return…also you might be feel its grand but you might not have donated single pie to this…all BAPS temple are built and being built at the cost of each and every volunteer and sympathizer’s every pie of their hard earned money..they are reducing their expenses in order to donate and built this temple….BAPS temple is not just site of worshiper, it teaches so many other things to people who are engaged to it…just see little bit more deeper and learned beofre commenting such…i hate when people talks when they dont have to do anything by their own but just dont like when somebody is doing good thing…atleast for Hindu sake, dont criticize any Hindu temple on how much money they are spending..if you dont like , you dont give money but dont tell bad against it..

      i don’t understand why Hindu is having issue with Hindu mandir…i still remember what Lord Macoley said in English parliament in 1835….

      1. Why build a grand “house” if the people in the house can’t even afford food for their table or a proper education for their children. I think a place to worship is wonderful, I don’t understand why that place needs to look like a castle. God doesn’t need a castle. Look it’s fine, your money spend it how you please. I only hope that temple will take initiatives in the community by serving hot meals to those who enter, donating things such as clothing for the underserved in your community, day care for single moms, free health clinic days etc.

        1. FYI: BAPS Charities does so much for others. One of Pramukh Swami’s quotes is “In the happiness of others, lies our own.” It hosts a ton of Health Fairs, organizes hundreds of walkathons that donate to other charitable organizations like American Diabetes Association and to local schools, has rebuilt entire communities after major earthquakes, and provides free meals every Sunday to anyone who wishes. And all of this good happens because people are inspired to do good by going to mandirs. They donate financially as well as their time, doing volunteer work. Also, I hope you understand that the cost of the mandir includes employing thousands of artisans in India who do the intricate carvings, helping them earn a living and keeping their art alive. In general, please try to educate yourself before making negative assumptions of others. Read for yourself at http://www.bapscharities.org because I think you may change your mind.

        2. People are initially attracted to go to these mandirs because they are so beautiful, and the intricate carvings help them connect to their culture…they are often proud that something like it exists! So the “grand castle” inspires people to come, and then the mandir is able to teach them good values, like serving others, often giving them opportunities to do so. I personally don’t think there is any waste of money when investing in something that promotes good.

  5. I hope there will be a McDonald nearby since we do like to go to restroom once in a while. If they spend 10% of the money in spending for restroom in India, that will be money well spent. Or sponsor a Wendy or McDonald nearby.

    Main reason why India is so poor, any money available is spent on these mandirs!!!

    1. The majority of the funds for these temples are provided directly from donors in the United States, and also BAPS contributes to the community both in Asia and North America.

    2. This is the most ignorant statement I’ve ever heard. There are plenty of restrooms available ON site, so don’t be stupid. Its not just a temple, it has a sabha hall as well as many other things. As Braylon said, the funds for this mandir are donated by devotees across the whole world, especially in the North East in America. BAPS Charities funds for many other things, such as hospitals, fire departments, and police departments. These mandirs teach such values that aren’t taught in the home or at school, and are therefore essential. Do McDonalds or Wendys teach you how to be a good, kind, and humble person? No. They shove food in your face for only their own benefit, which is a leading cause of obesity in America.
      Next time, get your facts straight before critiquing something you obviously know nothing about.

      1. @satsangi:disqus The temples or any place of worship is a form of investment nowadays. People donate millions in donation boxes. On one hand, a needy person/family suffers from lack of funds for basic physical needs and here 150 million is being wasted on a stone building housing dead stone idols! Living in US has not taught people to believe in all this BS!

    3. I’m pretty sure most “money available” is spent on all kinds of unnecessary consumer goods (phones, cars, clothes, etc.). But you don’t complain about people wasting money on these excessive things, which collectively is billions of dollars. Technically, that money could also help the poor. It is unfortunate that you choose to criticize a nonprofit organization that does a LOT of good in the world.

      1. @AssumeGod: Come on, consumer goods are necessity. Majority of people only buys clothes, cars and phones when needed. A car is brought and used for 10-15 years. Other consumer goods are brought as necessity. Don’t be so naïve! Also, if people stop spending in the economy for consumer goods that support a lot of businesses and employers, then where will people get employment from. All will be poor. India is still a country with high levels of poverty because, it is hard to do business in India and hence the pace of employment generation is very slow. There could be lakhs of temples in India but still, majority are poor or near poor!

        1. I don’t think you understood my point. My point was not that people shouldn’t buy consumer goods. That would be ridiculous. My point was that spending money on mandirs is also fine–no one should criticize it, especially since it is meant to teach good values and provide spiritual support to people who desire it.

          Also, I disagree with you: many, many people buy unnecessary goods all the time. Lots of excessive shoes, clothes, toys, and random junk. The US is all about consumerism. But that is another discussion for another time.

          1. @AssumeGood In India, a minuscule percentage of people can afford luxury. A lot of people can’t even afford a car, an apartment, 2 meals a day etc. On the other hand, the organizations that run temples and other places of worship are filthy rich and a lot of corruption exists among them with those in the management pocketing the money for their personal use. I would rather buy a luxurious item or consumer good for my family rather than pay money at the temple so that somebody else could buy a luxury item!

          2. BAPS is not a corrupt organization. Absolutely no one pockets any donations. It is run on the basis of volunteer efforts. Please don’t assume it is corrupt just because some other religious groups was found to be corrupt–that is bad logic.

            Just to set your facts straight: BAPS has spent millions of dollars on charity work. Visit bapscharities.org for details.

            I understand the vast differences in consumer spending in the US vs India. I am referencing the US because that is where the donations are coming from. People in the US chose to donate their money to build Akshardham rather than buy consumer goods.

            You should spend your money however you want. No one is criticizing you for choosing to buy a consumer good rather than donating to a nonprofit organization. Again, my point is: stop criticizing other people who choose to donate *their* money to their mandir (which has a snowball effect of doing good for the community, teaching good family values, promoting an addiction-free life, doing seva/volunteer work for their local communities and abroad, donating money further for building schools/hospitals/disaster relief, etc.

          3. @assumegood:disqus A lots of people can’t afford the expensive healthcare in US due to a lot of reasons. As a result, many people don’t go to a doctor for checkup and many a times, a serious illness goes undiagnosed until it is too late to treat. One time hospitalization can lead to financial ruin or bankruptcy. Why not set up something for them with $150 million instead of making an opulent stone structure housing lifeless stone idols that doesn’t help anyone! Instead of spending on lifeless stone idols, why not spend on lively people? You haven’t seen the movie OMG Oh My God yet? On one hand, people waste millions of liters of milk on a sexual organ of a god (Shiv Ling).. lol, whereas on the other hand, a poor kid suffers from acute hunger. I guess, any God or bhagwaan will be pleased if you help his creatures. A god doesn’t need his organ to be washed with milk!

          4. Again, and for the last time, my point is for you to stop being so judgemental about how other people spend *their* money. If you want to donate to the hungry, go ahead. If you want to pay for someone’s healthcare, feel free.

            What you consistently fail to understand is that BAPS does *everything* you keep mentioning. BAPS and its volunteers feed the hungry and provide free healthcare to communities all over the world. I’ve said this before. THE INSPIRATION TO DO THIS COMES FROM THE MANDIR. A good leader inspires others to do good–that leader for BAPS is Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Without the mandir inspiring people to donate to their communities and volunteer, I assume most satsangis simply wouldnt do it. It’s not a valid statement to say: take the $150 million and donate it to charity instead. Hypothetically, if you make a small modest mandir, it will attract a small crowd that will donate a modest amount of money for charity. Create a beautiful, large mandir, and the crowd it attracts is phenomenal–and that crowd now has the potential to donate to charity a sum much greater than $150 million to charity over time. It is a social and community investment. You have not been able to convince me otherwise. With all due respect, as far as I am concerned, this conversation is over because you are not making any valid points to counter what I am saying. All the best to you.

          5. @AssumeGood: If $150 million is invested in development work like setting up a business, it will affect so many areas like creating employment, generation of taxes all of which will have ripple effect on an economy. People need for jobs/food on their plate, not stupid and opulent places of worship. Even if your argument is true, why should a temple be an opulent structure worth hundreds of millions of dollars?. Don’t the spiritual leaders preach simplicity?

          6. Mandirs aren’t built for free, right? It costs $150 mostly because it is paying for materials and labor. It creates employment like you said. In fact, it helps the artisans in India who depend on this type of work to support their families. And a bonus of this is it helps keep their ancient beautiful trade/art alive. Yes, simplicity in our lives in preached. But we wish to give our best for God. And again, if you simply read the bapscharities.org website, BAPS has distributed tools, vegetable carts, and other items to give to the people of India during natural disasters, in addition to building them homes and giving them basic food/clothing, so those people not only received charity to survive, but the tools they need to work and support themselves. All of this is only possible because people come together to their mandirs and mobilize their resources inspired to help. Again, your point is not valid.

          7. Also, I honestly feel you have no idea what BAPS is. You should educate yourself about it at baps.org, bapscharities.org, and mandir.org. They do amazing work for people around the world. You shouldnt assume it is a corrupt, money-making business. It is a nonrofit registered with the United Nations Socio-economic Council that provides so many social services to people and disaster relief worldwide. You are confused with your facts/assumptions.

    4. I wonder that why people have stupidly thought like u..
      If money is used for temple that wast of money than what abt millions,not millions but billions of money wasted in movies and alcohol,chigrate, what they are giving any benefits to this world..
      No then why u dont comments on that..
      Why are the people are so stupid…
      If u cant do anything for god than ok but dont criticised on which are doing for god..
      I feel proude for this type of temple as hindu..
      I love god and i want many more this kind of temple for god..

      1. @disqus_17IfogEVM3:disqus I would rather spend my hard earned money on my family or myself than donating to some temple who’s management or authorities who become millionaires. Example is the laddoo maker for Tirupati Temple who is a millionaire! If instead, people pay for building schools, colleges, hospitals or help people set up businesses etc, then there will be proper development. Now you will argue that people should spending on themselves, dude, if you are working hard day in and out, people need things to relax and hence they drink. Temples can get boring for newer generation!

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