The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Robbinsville, New Jersey, is considered one of the largest Hindu temples in the world. And it’s actually two structures in one. The awe-inspiring marble mandir resides within a larger visitor’s center, which protects the intricate place of worship from the elements.
Measuring 42 feet tall, 133 feet long, and 87 feet wide, the temple is made entirely of Carrara marble imported from Italy to Rajasthan, India, where hundreds of artisans began hand-carving the stone. Once all 13,499 carved pieces were complete, they were assembled into a test version of the temple to ensure that everything would come together before being shipped off to the U.S.
The finished mandir, which opened in 2014, is an awe-inspiring work of craftsmanship that took a total of 4.7 million man hours—from craftsmen to volunteers—to complete. Among the thousands of elaborate carvings are 98 sthambhas (or carved pillars), 66 peacock-style arches, 144 sacred figures, and 91 elephants with various musical instruments and flowers. The complex, parts of which are still in development, is free and open to the public. Watch the video above for a sneak peek.