On the morning of August 30, 2023, a significant milestone was achieved in the making of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
The auspicious occasion, Kalash Pujan of the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham, took place in the presence of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, on Rakshabandhan day.
Volunteers, their eyes filled with tears, watched as the result of their years of hard work, dedication, and prayers materialised.
The entire campus resonated with anticipation and joy, marking a pivotal moment in the Akshardham journey: the sanctification of the kalash, destined to grace the apex of the Swaminarayan Akshardham, a press release from the BAPS said.
For the volunteers who collectively invested millions of hours in building Akshardham over 12 years, this event symbolised the realisation of the late spiritual leader His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s vision to create a place where people of all backgrounds could find peace and inspiration to lead virtuous lives.
Once completed, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham will serve as a testament to Hindu art, architecture, and culture in the Western hemisphere.
A Kalash holds deep significance in traditional Hindu mandirs, serving as a metaphorical sacred pot of nectar. The ‘Nidhi Kalash,’ situated at the base of Akshardham, was consecrated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj in 2011.
On the same day, the largest ‘Amrut Kalash,’ representing the pinnacle point, was sanctified by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, who performed the ritual on the steps of Akshardham.
The kalash also functions as a divine ‘antenna,’ capturing the surrounding divinity and channelling it through the pinnacle to the murtis positioned directly below, enhancing the sacred ambiance of Akshardham.
Amid Vedic chants in a spiritually charged atmosphere, a total of 18 kalashes were consecrated.
In his address, Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami said, “The kalash is considered significant because upon its placement, the shikhar becomes complete. When it adorns the shikhar, its inherent beauty flourishes, and it fills us with profound joy.” He further stressed the selfless service of the volunteers, and said, “Devotees from across North America came together in voluntary service day and night, with devotion and faith.”
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj said, “The divine culmination of all efforts is symbolised by the kalash atop Akshardham. Today, as we embrace the significance of Rakshabandhan, the day of protection, remember that Bhagwan Swaminarayan himself stands as our shield.”
BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham stands as a significant representation of Hindu architecture and culture. It serves as a symbol of unity, harmony, and selfless service, bridging the rich heritage of ancient India with the contemporary landscape of America.
This spiritual sanctuary was established by BAPS (a spiritual, volunteer-driven fellowship) under the inspiration of its spiritual leaders Pramukh Swami Maharaj and Mahant Swami Maharaj, encapsulating their visionary guidance and steadfast dedication to humanity. Importantly, it remains open to all, welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds.