“Inside Akshardham: A Volunteer’s Perspective on the 2nd Biggest Hindu Akshardham Mandir Complex”

Nestled in Robbinsville, New Jersey, the Akshardham mega-complex stands as a testament to unwavering dedication and a beacon of hope for the Hindu community in the western hemisphere. This monumental Akshardham Mandir, now the largest Hindu temple under construction in this part of the world, was conceived by my spiritual guide, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, in the year.

My earliest memories of Akshardham as a toddler were marked by the heartfelt chant, “Akshardham Mahotsav ni Jay!” – an invocation of blessings upon the Akshardham Inauguration Celebrations. It is a phrase that would resonate within me as I witnessed, over two decades, the collective prayers of thousands materializing into reality.

As the Akshardham approaches its final year of construction, it has offered a unique opportunity for volunteers to immerse themselves in its grandeur. Driven by an unwavering love for their guru, many have relocated their lives to Robbinsville, dedicating weeks, and in some cases, even months of their existence to serve on-site. Families have uprooted themselves from different states, all in the spirit of honoring spirituality, God, and the revered Guru.

Remarkably, this endeavor has also attracted young individuals as young as 19, eager to acquire new skills and work tirelessly, enduring the scorching heat of summer and the numbing winters of the Northeast. Their passion and commitment stem from a profound desire to see their guru’s vision come to life, a vision that Pramukh Swami once described as a task that would be accomplished by the devotees themselves – a seemingly insurmountable feat. Sprawled across more than 200 acres, this mega-cultural complex stands as a contemporary symbol of human and spiritual potential achieved through the power of “samp” or one-mindedness.

The term “Akshardham,” pronounced as “Ak-shaar-dm,” embodies its essence as “the abode of God.” Beyond being a mere construction Akshardham Mandir, this complex serves as a custodian of Hindu religion, culture, values, and ethics, safeguarding them for generations yet to come. It transcends the realm of ordinary jobs, offering a unique opportunity to become part of a greater whole. My personal journey to Robbinsville, where I dedicated two weeks of my life in service, was a profound experience that left me with an enduring lesson – the transformative power of unity, devotion, and selflessness.

Exploring the Stages of Akshardham :

1. Activity Center: A Hub for Cultural and Spiritual Enrichment

At the heart of our Akshardham mandir lies the Activity Center, a vibrant hub dedicated to nurturing cultural and spiritual growth. Within its walls, you’ll find inviting assembly halls where a diverse range of programs are held. These gatherings provide opportunities for individuals to come together, learn, and celebrate their shared heritage.

2. The Akshardham Mandir: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Hindu Temple

Embracing tradition and craftsmanship, the Akshardham Mandir stands as a testament to the timeless beauty of stone-carved architecture. As a place of worship, it offers a serene sanctuary for spiritual seekers and devotees. The Akshardham Mandir is not just a structure; it’s a profound symbol of faith and reverence.

3. Youth Activity Center: Fostering Knowledge and Growth

Our Akshardham also includes a Youth Activity Center, meticulously designed to encourage learning and personal development. Within its walls, you’ll find inspiring learning spaces and well-equipped classrooms. It’s a space where young minds can thrive and blossom.

4. Welcome Center and Exhibition: A Gateway to Understanding Hinduism

As you enter our Akshardham, you’ll be greeted by the Welcome Center and Exhibition. This serves as the perfect introduction for visitors curious about Hinduism. The Welcome Center offers warm hospitality, while the informative exhibits provide insights into the rich tapestry of Hindu culture, traditions, and beliefs.

5. Swaminarayan Akshardham Mahamandir: A Majestic Representation of the Divine

Our crowning jewel, the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mahamandir, is a monumental masterpiece. Carved from stone with unwavering dedication, it stands as a majestic representation of the divine abode of God. Its intricate details and grandeur inspire awe and reverence among all who behold it.

In conclusion, our Akshardham Mandir unfolds through these distinct phases, each contributing to the holistic experience of cultural, spiritual, and educational enrichment. Together, they create a space that welcomes people from all walks of life to connect, learn, and find solace in the beauty of Hindu traditions.

Unveiling the Artistry Behind Phase Five Mahamandir Design

As we eagerly anticipate the completion of Phase Five Mahamandir, slated for construction until August 2023, we delve into the exquisite design that graces this architectural marvel. This magnificent structure draws inspiration from the Nagara style of Indian architecture, a testament to the rich heritage it represents. Let’s explore the key design elements that make it a truly awe-inspiring creation.

1. The Towering Shikhars: Reaching for the Heavens

At the heart of Phase Five Mahamandir, we find soaring shikhars, or pinnacle towers, adorning its skyline. Among them, the mahashikar stands out, aspiring to reach an impressive height of 90 feet, seemingly touching the heavens themselves. These towering spires symbolize the spiritual ascent and devotion that the Mahamandir embodies.

2. The Saamrans: Guardians of Symmetry

Surrounding the majestic mahashikar are nine saamrans, the lower towers, each meticulously designed to maintain harmony and symmetry in the architectural composition. Together with the mahashikar, they form a striking visual ensemble, invoking a sense of balance and unity.

3. The Parabrahma Gumat: A Unique Oval-shaped Dome

A distinctive feature of Phase Five Mahamandir is the Parabrahma Gumat, the first oval-shaped dome in the complex. This unique architectural element represents the boundless nature of the divine and serves as a focal point of spiritual reflection within the temple.

4. Guided by Vaastu Shastra: Harmony with the Universe

In Hindu tradition, places of worship are crafted with meticulous attention to harmony, symmetry, and balance, mirroring the order of the universe. Drawing inspiration from ancient scriptures known as Vaastu Shastra, architects and designers meticulously adhere to these guiding principles. These texts provide profound insights into architectural design, influencing everything from building orientation to the geometries of interior elements.

5. The Carrara Marble: Endurance in the Face of Nature

To withstand the rigorous climatic conditions of the northeastern United States, Phase Five Mahamandir incorporates Carrara marble, carefully sourced from Italian quarries renowned for their durability in cold temperatures. A staggering 68,000 cubic feet of this exquisite stone was transported to Rajasthan, India, where a team of 2,700 skilled artisans devoted months to hand-carve each piece. Remarkably, each of the 33,000+ carved marble pieces was meticulously labeled and shipped to the United States for assembly, resembling an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

6. A Testament to Stone Craftsmanship: No Steel Structural Elements

Setting itself apart from conventional building structures in the United States, this temple proudly stands without any steel members for structural support. Instead, the load-bearing stone is painstakingly laid, piece by piece, through precise crane operations.

In summary, Phase Five Mahamandir’s design is a fusion of ancient wisdom, artistic craftsmanship, and enduring materials. It stands not only as a place of worship but as a living testament to the architectural brilliance and spiritual devotion of its creators. As construction continues until August 2023, we eagerly await the day when this masterpiece will be unveiled in all its glory.

ALSO RAED : जन्माष्टमी : भगवान श्रीकृष्ण के लीला और धर्म का संदेश

“Embracing the Challenge: Crafting the Parikrama Path”

Our team was a vibrant mix of individuals aged 19 to 26, each eager to take on the task of building the “Parikrama,” the outdoor circumambulatory walkway that gracefully encircles the cultural campus. This unique path weaves its way around the magnificent Mahamandir and seamlessly integrates with it, becoming an integral part of the entire site.

The success of constructing the Parikrama hinges on precision and careful planning right from the outset. It all begins with the very first pieces of granite stone that are meticulously measured and perfectly aligned. These initial stones play a crucial role as they form the foundational bedrock upon which all subsequent layers of stone will rest. This process resembles laying the cornerstone for a grand structure, setting the stage for the Parikrama’s construction journey.

The assembly of the Parikrama is a delicate and intricate process. Each stone is methodically stacked upon the other, and a hollow steel column runs through them, ensuring stability and strength. This lateral stacking method not only reinforces the structure but also adds to its visual allure, creating a seamless and continuous path that envelops the cultural campus.

Visualize the crane operator deftly maneuvering each stone, akin to threading a needle. With precision and expertise, they carefully lift and place each piece, ensuring it aligns seamlessly with the others. This meticulous approach ensures that the Parikrama is not just a walkway but a work of art, a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship of our team.

In essence, the Parikrama is more than just a path; it’s a journey of craftsmanship and dedication. It embodies the spirit of collaboration, precision, and the seamless integration of nature and artistry. As each stone is carefully set into place, the Parikrama emerges as a testament to our team’s unwavering commitment to creating a space that harmonizes with the cultural campus while offering a serene path for reflection and contemplation.

“Diving into the World of Volunteering: My Experience on the Temple Akshardham Mandir”

My role as a volunteer encompassed several tasks, one of which was infilling grout between the stone slabs using a specialized product known as geo fix. This cement-based solution was meticulously crafted for this specific application, ensuring weather resistance and strong adhesion to the elevated concrete foundation that forms the walkway. This grout, referred to as “maal,” played a crucial role in sealing the stone slabs against the concrete, ensuring a secure and enduring connection.

As a designer, specifying continuous sealant or insulation is one thing, but translating this into action in the field is an entirely different challenge, especially for someone like me with limited prior experience, despite the valuable guidance from experts.

Despite the numerous challenges we faced due to the sheer scale and complexity of the Akshardham Mandir, the temple Akshardham Mandir continued to forge ahead successfully. Remarkably, over 95% of the workforce consisted of volunteers, most of whom had never ventured into the realm of construction before. The weeklong, intensive training sessions played a pivotal role in enabling us to achieve such remarkable success.

From the perspective of a designer, our responsibilities extend beyond conceptualization. We must collaborate closely with teams specializing in Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP), Civil, and Structural aspects to ensure a seamless design that offers an exceptional user experience. This Akshardham Mandir has undergone years of meticulous planning and design; however, translating the intricate temple design from paper to reality is an entirely different journey.

The process involves practical challenges, such as rigging a 100-pound stone piece onto wooden slats in sweltering heat, only to have it hoisted by a crane and carefully placed into position. It is during these moments that I gained a profound appreciation for the dedicated individuals working tirelessly in the field, turning design blueprints into tangible, awe-inspiring structures. These unsung heroes breathe life into the drawings, making them a reality.

In conclusion, my volunteer experience on the temple Akshardham Mandir has been a journey of discovery, growth, and profound respect for the individuals who transform vision into reality. It serves as a reminder that teamwork, determination, and a shared passion can overcome any obstacles, and together, we can create something truly remarkable.

“The Power of Selflessness: Stories from the Temple Akshardham Mandir”

As mentioned earlier, the journey of this Akshardham Mandir has been marked by the remarkable selflessness of many families who chose to leave their jobs behind temporarily to dedicate themselves to the mission at hand. These individuals committed to working tirelessly for eight hours a day, driven not only by their desire to see the Akshardham Mandir through to completion but also by their shared goal of shedding negative thoughts and vices, as well as letting go of pride and ego. Among these selfless families, one that left a lasting impression on me is the Waghani family, with whom my friend Prem and I had the privilege of staying.

Punit Waghani and his wife, Mousami Waghani, exemplified the true spirit of selflessness. They generously provided us with a bed and breakfast accommodation, extending their hospitality as a volunteer service, free of charge. What struck me most was their unwavering commitment to volunteering full-time for the temple Akshardham Mandir. Punit Waghani, in particular, dedicated himself to serving in the financial department of the cultural complex, contributing his skills and time selflessly.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: All meals for the volunteers were generously provided by the temple four times a day! With a site bustling with 600 volunteers, the logistics of the kitchen department were nothing short of astounding. Kitchen volunteers worked tirelessly in shifts, ensuring that the site volunteers were treated to delicious, nourishing meals on time. Witnessing this seamless operation left me in awe, prompting me to wonder how such a massive undertaking was humanly possible. The answer, of course, lay in the power of unity.

In summary, the temple Akshardham Mandir is not just a testament to architectural and artistic brilliance; it’s a shining example of the transformative power of selflessness and unity. The sacrifices made by families like the Waghanis, who put aside their own comforts to serve a higher purpose, are a testament to the profound impact that selfless dedication can have. It is a reminder that when individuals come together with a shared purpose and open hearts, they can achieve the seemingly impossible and create something truly extraordinary.

“Creating Cherished Moments: July 4th Gathering at Akshardam Mahamandir”

July 4th marked a memorable day when the entire site crew, comprising over 600 dedicated volunteers and site workers, came together on the sacred main stairs of the Akshardam Mahamandir. This heartwarming gathering was a testament to the unity and camaraderie that defined our team’s spirit. It was not just a meal; it was an experience that brought us all together as one.

In a heartwarming gesture, the temple monks and monks-in-training took on the role of servers, delighting devotees with a delectable spread of pasta and smores. This unique act of service not only filled our bellies but also created precious memories that will be cherished by all the volunteers.

The joy and warmth of that July 4th gathering were palpable, as we shared a meal as a unified team, bonded by our shared purpose and dedication to the Akshardham Mandir. These are the moments that go beyond the construction and design aspects of the temple; they are the moments that remind us of the human connections, the shared laughter, and the sense of community that make the journey truly special.

In essence, this gathering was a celebration of unity, teamwork, and the shared commitment to a higher purpose. It was a day when the Akshardam Mahamandir site transformed into a place not only of architectural brilliance but also of cherished memories and enduring friendships.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *