“It was a moment of jubilation, a moment that transcended borders, cultures, and continents,” BAPS said in a press release, adding, “Hundreds of thousands of individuals from across the globe witnessed this historic celebration.”
Described as “a marvel of Hindu art, architecture, and culture,” Akshardham is meant to portray India’s and Indian Americans’ heritage and traditions, and bridge the gap with other communities in the nation.
The dedication ceremony also included a fireworks display, as devotees expressed their jubilation.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham represents a fusion of tradition and modernity, say those involved with the building of the edifice, “where the echoes of ancient wisdom resonate harmoniously with the vibrant energy of the present.”
The spiritual guru of BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj is regarded as the main person behind the idea of having an Akshardham in US, like the one in India. “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,” Mahant Swami Maharaj is quoted saying in the press release.
BAPS said, “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 address to the audience, U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said, “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 thoughts about 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.”