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Sabita Rupani | HENB | Dubai | Feb 11, 2018:: Indian PM Narendra Modi inaugurated Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple as part of his three-nation tour to Palestine, Oman and the UAE. The temple design and structure is along the lines of the Akshardham temple in Delhi and others.
Back in 2015, during Narendra Modi’s first visit to the UAE, the government had allocated land in Abu Dhabi for its first Hindu temple. The 20,000 sq m complex will come up in Al Wathba, 30 minutes away from the city. Reports suggest that the temple will include idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Maheshwara, Lord Ayyappa, Swamy Narayan and more and that it will feature a garden and a water-front.
Modi is in Dubai to address the Indian community, and witnessed the Shila Pujan ceremony (laying foundation stone) in Abu Dhabi through a livestream from the Dubai Opera.
“This temple will not be only unique in terms of architecture and splendour, but will also give a message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (world is one) to people across the world,” Modi told the gathering.
Mridul Kumar, joint secretary in charge of the Gulf region earlier told The Hindu, “The structure of the temple, the deities and the idols are aspects that the Indian community will have to work out with the UAE government.” The temple will be hand-carved by artisans from India and will be assembled in the UAE. It will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all faiths.
Currently, there are two Hindu temples and one gurudwara in Dubai. Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri said, “I am pretty confident that once this temple comes up, it will be a beacon not only of Indian culture here but also the UAE’s own spirit of tolerance that celebrates diversity and enables all community the space to practice their religion, culture, identity and language.”
Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, the chief spokesperson of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, said the generous gift of land for a Hindu temple by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, 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.”
The temple will incorporate all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple as part of a fully functional, social, cultural and spiritual complex.
It will replicate the BAPS temple in New Delhi and the one under construction in New Jersey, a trust member told HENB.
Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), is a socio-spiritual Hindu organisation set up in 1907 that runs more than 1,200 temples and cultural compounds around the world.
Expected to be completed by 2020, it shall also include a visitors’ centre, prayer halls, exhibitions, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, a books and gift shop and other facilities.
“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,” he added.
__With Agency Inputs.