First Hindu Temple to be built in China – Myth or Fact ?
An article was published in the official news site of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), that stated, “The Chinese government has invited the Swaminarayan Trust that runs the Akshardham temples in Noida and Gandhinagar, to build a similar temple.”
In October 2007, efforts were initiated by the government of China to build a Hindu temple in the communist country of China. This came as a surprise for many and a shock for others. This step was a positive step by China in the direction of lending a friendly hand towards India.
This was not just news. The government of China even earmarked a large chunk of land in its state of Foshan to build the temple along with a cultural centre showcasing Indian culture.
What is Akshardham temple?
Akshardham is a magnificent Hindu temple built in Gujarat for the worship of Lord Vishnu. It is completely made up of sandstone. The temple is built in a 23-acre plot with lush green gardens built around it. There are 365 stone pillars built in the Akshardham temple, and the whole temple is covered with designs hand-carved on its walls.
This splendid larger-than-life temple is one of a kind and holds a special place in Hinduism. Deeply embedded in the temple are the answers to many scientific questions, which people answered in ancient times. For Indians, it is not just a temple but a centre of learning values such as non-violence, morality, harmony, family values, etc. (ref.). People from all around the world come to visit the temple, to adorn its glorious aura and architecture.
With this beauty, it is evident that every country would love to have a similar structure on its land! Thus China decided to build one such temple. It was meant to enhance the spiritual growth of both countries and boost their relations.
The role of Swaminarayan Trust
Swaminarayan Trust is an organization responsible for maintaining and taking care of the Akshardham temple regularly and on special occasions. It was the first choice of the Chinese government because who else would have better knowledge of the temple, other than the trust entrusted with the responsibility to take care of it?
The current scenario
The idea that the Chinese government sowed was left buried under the various developments in India and China’s relations. Moving on to the current scenario, the expansionist policy of China is making it lay a claim on many parts of India, such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, etc. The recent controversy on the borders in the Doklam region and the Galwan valley aggravated the bitterness between the two nations. (ref.)
In this scenario, it is difficult to think that China would take such a novel step of bringing the culture of a nation it is not on good terms with into its nation. We can only hope for the relations between the two nations to improve soon so that they start working on this beautiful idea again.
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