FIRST HINDU MANDIR IN ABU DHABI TO BE BUILT BY BAPS SWAMINARAYAN SANSTHA
Abu Dhabi – Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on Sunday, February 11, inaugurated the BAPS Hindu Mandir model, and thus officially launched the construction of the first BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sadguru Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami performed the foundation stone laying ceremony of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi to be built on 55,000 square meters of land. The temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE. It is expected to be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds. The temple, inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and blessed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, will be a significant symbol of global peace and harmony.
The foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first Hindu temple in the capital of the UAE, home to over three million people of Indian origin was live-streamed to the Dubai Opera House where the prime minister was interacting with Indian and Emirati dignitaries from all walks of life.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minster, thanked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his generous gift. “I believe this temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendor, but will also give a message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ to people across the world,” he said.
Several thousand devotees from all over the world, well-wishers and guests participated in the Shila Pujan ceremony marking the first step in the construction of the traditional stone temple. Representatives of all Indian religious denominations and communities, as well as, representatives of the Jain, Sikh, Muslim, Christian and other faith communities also attended the auspicious ceremony. In particular, Pujya Shri Rakeshbhai, founder of the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission in Dharampur, India, participated in the Vedic rituals.
Speaking on the occasion, Pujya Brahmaviharidas swami, the spokesperson of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha said, “The generous gift of land for a Hindu Temple by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a strong and sound message to the world that cultural and spiritual inclusiveness is the way forward for global harmony. Especially in the 21st century, when the world is fragmenting for frivolous reasons, this timely noble gesture creates hope for unity in diversity. It reinforces the guiding vision of tolerance and harmony of the founding fathers of the UAE. We are sincerely grateful and indebted to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, as well as the people of both nations for their commitment towards peace and harmony.”
Commenting, the Consul General of India, Shri Vipul, said, “This is a historic event, rightly called the millennial moment. The first traditional stone temple built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha shall serve the needs of the entire community. Closely working with their hundreds of volunteers and saints, I know the selfless spirit with which they dedicate themselves. The temple and its activities shall be path-breaking for promoting love, tolerance and harmony in the UAE and the neighboring regions.”
Also, Dr B.R. Shetty, Founder & Chairman of NMC Healthcare and Chairman of UAE Exchange, and a leading member of the temple committee said, “I am speechless. The generosity of the rulers of the UAE, the clarity of India’s Prime Minister and the integrity and ability of the BAPS is incredible. We are soon going to have an iconic temple complex that will serve everyone for generations to come.”
On February 10, 2018, the chief coordinators of the temple and the current public events, Pujya Ishwarcharandas Swami and Pujya Brahmaviharidas Swami, of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, met HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan. He assured the swamis, who presented a golden kalash – the vessel of immortality, that you are like our brothers and the temple should be iconic, grand and traditional. He also asked them to pray for him, his children and his grandchildren. In conclusion Sadhu Brahmaviharidas thanked him for his generosity, Shri Narendra Modi for his integrity and assured that the temple and the surrounding cultural and spiritual complex shall strengthen universal understanding and interfaith harmony, and will also nurture the children of today and coming generations towards a brighter future.
The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha is both honored and humbled to have been invited and entrusted to design, construct and manage the Temple by the rulers of the UAE and the Government of India. Of all the 1,200 BAPS temples around the world, in India, the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and Africa, many have been acclaimed with national and international awards for their art, architecture, beauty and excellence, environmental features and other social work. This first traditional stone temple in the Middle East, inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and blessed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj will also be, in its own way, unique and outstanding.
The mandir will incorporate all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple as part of a fully functional, social, cultural and spiritual complex. The stones will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE. Expected to be completed by 2020, it shall also include a visitors’ center, prayer halls, exhibitions, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, books and gift shop and other facilities.
Open to people of all beliefs and backgrounds, races and religions, this traditional temple will be a part of the UAE’s mission of happiness and harmony by helping to foster love, tolerance, understanding and peaceful coexistence. It will facilitate the traditional practice of the Hindu faith and serve the over 3.3 million Indians residing in and the millions of international tourists annually visiting the UAE through interfaith dialogue, pluralism and universal human values. It will also nurture the children of today and future generations towards a brighter future.
Moreover, as a landmark addition to the UAE skyline, the temple will become a beacon of beauty, an oasis of peace, an ocean of spirituality and a home of harmony – a global symbol of faith and friendship.