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Festivities, vibrant fanfare mark the opening of BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in NJ

BAPS, a global spiritual and humanitarian organization, celebrated the grand opening of the Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey, in a spectacular event over the weekend of October 8. Hundreds of thousands of individuals from across the globe witnessed this historic celebration, which marked the unveiling of the largest Hindu mandir in the United States.

“BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, a marvel of Hindu art, architecture, and culture, stands as a testament to the rich heritage and traditions of the Indian community,” said a press release issued by BAPS. “It serves as a bridge between the Asian Indian diaspora and the diverse American audience, inviting all to explore the spiritual and cultural treasures it holds within its sacred walls.”

The grand dedication ceremony was breathtaking to behold, filled with joy, fun, and dedication. As fireworks illuminated the night sky, they symbolized the spirit of celebration that lit up the hearts of all those in attendance. The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham represents a fusion of tradition and modernity, where the echoes of ancient wisdom resonate harmoniously with the vibrant energy of the present.

Seeing the fireworks go up, Harish Patel, a BAPS volunteer from Washington, DC said, “This moment is going to be etched in stone in my heart forever.”

Palak Shah, a New Jersey resident said, “I have a flood of emotions right now. The moment we were waiting for year is finally here.” 

In a world where birthday presents are typically received, the spiritual guru of BAPS, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, chose to give a remarkable gift to the world on his 90th birthday. This gift, the Swaminarayan Akshardham, is a symbol of unity, spirituality, and cultural appreciation, reflecting the shared values that bind people from diverse backgrounds.  In his blessings, Mahant Swami Maharaj stated, “It was Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s divine wish to construct an Akshardham in North America, where people can come and visit, irrespective of race, creed or religion.”

In his address to the audience, U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland mentioned, “This mandir is magnificent. We marvel at its immense size. We admire the craftsmanship behind the thousands of carved elephants, peacocks and other sculptures. But what I find most extraordinary is the community that built it.” Admiring the dedication of the volunteers and their selfless service, Congressman Hoyer continued, “They did it because they believe in the values this structure represents: equality, liberation, truth, harmony, and most importantly, service to others. The values enshrined here are not just Hindu values, they are human values.”

Governor John Carney of Delaware shared his admiration for the message of the evening.  “I was struck by what was said by the Swami just before that the temple is a bridge, a bridge from the past to the future, a bridge from India to America, a bridge from one community to the next. It is an incredible place of devotion.”

Also, in attendance was Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India in New York who addressed the assembly and delivered a message of congratulations from Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.

“Love the end and love the means by which we reached here, said, Chaitali Inamdar a volunteer from Pennington, referring to the 12,500 volunteers that built the largest Hindu Mandir in the modern era.

BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham invites everyone, regardless of their background, to experience the feelings of fun, joy, happiness, and dedication that were celebrated during the grand opening. It is a space where cultures converge, traditions flourish, and hearts unite.

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