Modi, Sunak extend greetings ahead of Akshardham Temple inauguration in New Jersey

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak have extended greetings ahead of the inauguration of an Akshardham Temple in Robbinsville city of New Jersey, said to be the largest Hindu temple outside India in the modern era.

“It is an occasion of profound spiritual significance for the vast legion of devotees worldwide,” Modi wrote in a letter to BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville.

Sending his best wishes to everyone at BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and all those involved in this initiative, Modi said the inaugural celebrations of Akshardham Mahamandir showcase Indian architectural excellence and its glorious ancient culture and ethos.

It will also help in establishing a connection between the members of the Indian diaspora, particularly the youth, to connect with and take pride in Maa Bharati, he said. “We were amazed and awed by the beauty of this temple and its universal message of peace, harmony, and becoming a better human being,” the British prime minister said in his message ahead of the temple’s inauguration on October 8.

“This is not only a place of worship, but a landmark that also portrays India’s values, culture, and contributions to the world,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi further said that India and the United States share an abiding relationship and both nations have nurtured and broadened these ties into a robust, multifaceted relationship, fostering extensive interactions among their people.

Observing that India’s enduring and illustrious spiritual heritage holds timeless and universal relevance, he said, that spirituality constitutes an integral element of our sociocultural heritage and principles.

“Our philosophy and traditions emphasise that the ultimate goal of an individual’s life revolves around ‘Seva’ or selfless service,” he wrote.

Noting that temples have been the hub of service and socio-cultural activities for centuries, he said they are not only centers of devotion but also serve as platforms for giving expression to art, architectural excellence, literature, and knowledge. Such profound cultural principles have been guiding humanity for generations.

“Bhagwan Swaminarayan presented eternal ideals of our culture and wove it into powerful lessons that could be accessed by every section of society. He emphasised the importance of purity of thought and conduct through spirituality and social reform,” Modi said.

From September 30, the highly anticipated dedication celebrations of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj are underway, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha said.

This marks a significant milestone after 12 years of dedication by over 12,500 volunteers across North America. The stone Mahamandir, set to become the centrepiece of the Akshardham campus, is a marvel of craftsmanship and devotion, blending intricate artistry with spiritual significance, it said.

Globally, BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardhams are landmarks of Hindu art, architecture, and culture. They serve as spiritual and community hubs, open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

Akshardham in New Jersey marks the third such cultural complex globally. The first Akshardham was created in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, India, in 1992, followed by Akshardham in New Delhi in 2005.