A religious guru who inspired and built the world’s largest Hindu temple has died at the age of 95.
His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who passed away on Saturday, opened the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Dehli, in 2005.
Measuring 356 ft long, 316 ft wide and 141 ft high, the grand, ancient-style temple was built within five years by 11,000 artisans entirely from stone without any structural steel.
The temple’s design showcases the essence of India’s ancient art, traditions and wisdom and was consecrated on 6 November 2005 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Born in December 1921 in a Chansad village near Padra, Gujarat, India, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the spiritual head of the international Hindu organisation BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha who spent seven decades visiting more than 17,000 towns and villages in India and across the world.
Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Whitty visited the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in New Dehli back in 2007 to present Pramukh Swami Maharaj with an official certificate recognising its architectural achievement.
Recalling his meeting with the guru, Michael said “He was a very impressive individual but also showed himself to be a kind and sensitive man during our conversations regarding his organisation and the work of Guinness World Records.”
“He was clearly an inspirational figure for many millions of people and the outstanding temples he created will I’m sure be forever remembered.”
Prayers and respects are being offered throughout BAPS temples around the world for Pramukh Swami Maharaj, with his funeral set to take place tomorrow.