In pictures: First glimpse of stone carvings for Abu Dhabi's Hindu temple

Published on November 10, 2020 at 17.32

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A “substantial portion” of stonework for Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple has already been carved, a top official said. BAPS Hindu Mandir spokesperson Ashok Kotecha said that despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 situation, work continued in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. “It is accurate to say that 25,000 cubic feet of stone is carved, which is a substantial portion of the temple,” Kotecha said.
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“The stone work on the historic temple is progressing. The work is being done in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and it continued while adhering to strict precautionary measures. The sandstone is from Rajasthan and marble from Italy.” Kotecha said the hand-carved stone pieces will be ready for shipment to the UAE by March 2021.“The carved stone pieces will be assembled on site in the first quarter of 2021. We would like to thank DP World and the Transworld group for offering logistical support in bringing those stones to the UAE for the final masterpiece.”
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A video released by the temple offered first glimpses of the majestic artwork portraying the Indian epics Ramayana, Mahabharata and other narratives from Hindu scriptures and mythology. The temple will be built according to the ancient Hindu ‘shilpa shastras’ — Sanskrit scriptures of architecture.
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Each hand-carved sculpture of different sizes showcases the rich culture and history of India and includes Arabic symbols, too.
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According to the final design, the temple will have seven spires and five domes. The complex will have a visitor’s centre, prayer halls, library, classroom, community centre, majlis, amphitheatre, play areas, gardens, books and gift shops, food court and other facilities. The temple is expected to be completed in 2022.
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Kotecha attributed the smooth progress of the temple construction to the vision of the UAE’s and India’s leaders. Last month, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, held a meeting with the top representatives of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in Al Ain. Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, leader of the Hindu community and head of BAPS Hindu Mandir, is visiting the UAE to oversee the next stage of the foundation.
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