Devotion is all set to reach new heights next year as the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Shri Swaminarayan temple, also known as the Mahamandir, will break the Guinness World Record of being the temple constructed on the biggest ever acreage. This mammoth mandir will sit on a plush 162 acre complex at Robbinsville, New Jersey.
The temple which broke ground in 2009 and is set for completion in 2017. According to sources, 2,000 artisans in Rajasthan are hand-crafting the temples in Italian and Rajasthani marble. The finished pieces will then be reassembled in New Jersey by a team of master craftsmen. The first phase of the project, the Great Prayer Hall, with seating for 1000 people, and Shikharbaddh Mandir temple have been already inaugurated and is open for public viewing.
The parent structures of the Swaminarayana temple are at Gandhinagar, Gujrat is spread over 23 acres and another at Delhi on the banks of Yamuna (sitting on a massive 59 acres.) Both the temples have been created by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj who himself holds the Guinness World record for creating and consecrating the most temples by one person. To be exact 713 temples, on five continents starting in April of 1971 to November 2007. But this temple coming up in New Jersey is going to be big enough to obscure the other two. It is being built on a mind boggling budget of $150 million! This is after all a 15 year long dream of the Swamiji who, along with BAPS, strives to care for the world by caring for societies, families and individuals. The organisation’s universal work through a worldwide network of over 3,850 centres has received many national and international awards and is affiliated with the United Nations.
Furthermore, 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 centre. 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, Mahabharata and ancient scriptures. The halls will have full size idols of important leaders of the sect.
At present, the biggest Hindu temple is the Sri Rangaswami temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, which covers 155.92 acres.
The large scale construction of such structure does bring into light the devotion and faith that people have to their religion and their gods. One such example is of the whooping 6 crores that have been put into buying the rights of “Om Namo Venkatesaya,” an upcoming movie of Akkineni Nagarjuna that depicts the devotion of the saint Hathi Ram Baba towards Lord Balaji at the centre of its story. Goes without saying adoration and faith in the Supreme doesn’t know any borders.
Watch “Om Namo Venkatesaya” First Look of the Lord –