It’s truly hard to believe this stunning, massive Hindu temple is located just 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia in Robbinsville, New Jersey, and not in India!
While the entire temple is not yet complete, and won’t be until approximately 2020, the inner sanctuary or “mandir” is, and is definitely worth seeing now! There are no photographs allowed inside this section, however, and they are VERY strict with this rule. It’s even more breathtaking than the exterior, and as you can see, that’s pretty unreal… so use your imagination!
The mandir which was designed according to ancient Vedas (Hindu scriptures) is 68,000 cubic feet of hand-carved Italian Carrara marble which was flown from Europe to Rajasthan, India for carving. The finished pieces were then assembled and packaged by engineers who sequentially numbered the many pieces, then shipped them to New Jersey. The intricately carved details include peacocks, elephants, and celebrated Hindu deities.
The mandir was constructed solely by volunteers and took 4.7 million hours to complete. Unbelievable!
Every single detail of this wonder is just breathtaking! I found myself gasping at every turn, staring in pure amazement.
Upon arrival, you will be asked to remove your shoes. There are also wraps provided in the gender-segregated dressing rooms for anyone with bare arms or legs.
The campus is open for all from 9 am-7 pm. There’s a midday Arti ceremony performed daily at 11:30 am which all are welcome to join. I would recommend calling before your visit however, just to make sure there aren’t any private ceremonies taking place that day.
It is free to visit, but there is a donation box if you so desire. You can easily tour the temple self-guided, but they do offer complimentary audio tours. If you’re lucky and your party is less than eight people, a volunteer may be able to take you around as well. Larger parties may want to book a tour in advance. More information regarding that is available on their official site. Definitely don’t miss the 8-minute video in the lobby either way.
There’s a gift shop with many books, figures, souvenirs, and mala beads. There’s also a casual cafeteria-style snack shop called Shayona serving up vegetarian goodies, both to enjoy in house or packaged to go. We purchased some really delicious treats…papdi lot, cardamom tea, sing bujhia, and of course, mango lassi for the kids. We loved everything we tasted. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are if you’re a fan of architecture and history, or love to educate yourself and/or your children about different cultures, this magnificent, inspiring place is for you! It’s truly inspiring!
I look forward to returning with the fam to experience one of their traditional festivals soon. A complete list of their events is available on their site.
I thought this would cure my wanderlust for India, I was wrong, it just enhanced it. So happy to have a piece of this incredible country which has always fascinated me, right here practically in our backyard!