for www.HCINA.org on Oct. 6, 2007
It is one of the grandest Hindu temples in the capital and has been built with a lot of thought and precision. An architectural marvel, the Akshardham temple is the cynosure of all eyes.
Soon a replica of it will be constructed, thousands of miles away in China. The first Hindu temple in communist China.
The Chinese government has invited the Swaminarayan Trust that runs the Akshardham temples in Noida and in Gandhinagar, to build a similar temple.
A huge piece of land has been earmarked in Fohsan state, which will not only house the temple but also an Indian cultural centre.
"Initial thoughts are to have a cultural centre also along with the temple, a traditional Indian music learning centre and also various Indian language teaching centres including Hindi, on this temple premises," said Jagat Shah, Joint Secretary-General, Indo-China Trade Council.
The Swaminarayan Trust has welcomed the decision, saying there's much more to it than the religious angle.
"This decision taken by Chinese government, letting the Hindus build a temple in China is to be appreciated highly. Its not only question of spirituality but also in many other ways both the countries will benefit. There will also be cultural exchange between people living in these two countries and that outcome will help in spiritual and physical growth of citizens of India and China," said Jasraj Maharaj, religious guru in the Swaminarayan Sect.
A core team of the trust is busy preparing the final design plan. Members of the team and the Indo-China Trade Council are expected to visit the proposed temple site soon.
A team of officials from one of China's prestigious construction companies that will execute the project is now in India to study the architecture of Swaminarayan temple.
"China is also very good at construction and especially our company actually focuses on various types of construction designs. I think this being a joint venture with Indian partner, design from India and construction from China, this temple will be the masterpiece," said Xiaojun Lee, Secretary of Board, Panzhihua Guanghua Group, PR China.
The first Hindu temple in the land of dragons will not just be a temple but the hub of cultural exchange between India and China.