Abu Dhabi Hindu temple gives 10,000 handmade rakhis to workers, residents

Women’s wing of BAPS Mandir made the sacred thread that a sister tie on her brother’s wrist as a symbol of love and protection



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 5:13 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 5:31 PM

The BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi has marked the occasion of Raksha Bandhan (bond of protection), a traditional Hindu festival celebrating the bond between sisters and brothers in a unique way.

The women’s wing of the BAPS Hindu Mandir made more than 10,000 rakhis, a sacred thread that a sister tie on her brother’s wrist as a symbol of love and protection.

During a special prayer led by Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas, the head of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, rakhis were offered to more than 4,000 blue-collar expat workers in attendance, who came in different batches and belonged to companies across the country. Most of the workers living alone and away from their families were overcome with joy to receive handmade rakhis.

Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas leads the special prayers attended by 4,000 blue-collar workers
Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas leads the special prayers attended by 4,000 blue-collar workers

“This is a great occasion. I was earlier thinking that yet another year has passed without being home for Raksha Bandhan and other festivals. This is a great initiative by the temple,” said a worker.

Ram, another worker, noted: “I feel like I am back home with my family. We are grateful to the Swamis and Mandir for inviting us to celebrate Rakshabandhan together with so many brothers and sisters.”

The 150-strong women’s wing was at work for more than a month, collating data of devotees who have visited the temple. Each woman volunteer then reached out to 40 devotees and ensured personal delivery of rakhis.

The women’s wing of the BAPS Hindu Mandir
The women’s wing of the BAPS Hindu Mandir

“We have made these with our own hands. It’s a symbol of love and affection. Most of the people, especially workers, have their loved ones staying back home. So, following the instructions of Swami Brahmaviharidas we made these rakhis.

"We are a mix of students, homemakers and working professionals who made use of our spare time to procure materials, decorate, outreach, network and so on to make this occasion a special one,” said a senior volunteer.

On the occasion, a video message of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, who is in India, was shown where he prayed for harmony and fraternity.

Blue-collar workers carry a brick as part of the ceremony
Blue-collar workers carry a brick as part of the ceremony

Later, devotees participated in an auspicious brick laying ceremony called ‘Shila Sthaapan.’ They carried a brick, and singing hymns, placed it on the five-metre-high plinth, above the foundation of the new temple. More than 100 volunteers helped orchestrate the flow, while managing logistics, preparing food, and providing small traditional memorabilia.

Swami Brahmaviharidas noted: “The atmosphere is one of great love, equality, and divinity. These thousands of rakhis have been handmade with love by the women devotees of the UAE, to gift each worker symbolising blessings for brothers. Even this Mandir will be handmade with love. Hence, in a place of great piety we pray that may God guide and guard this beautiful nation, its leadership, and all those who call it their home.”

Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas addressing the gathering
Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas addressing the gathering

Ashok Kotecha, BAPS Hindu Mandir, chairman, underlined: “There is a feeling of belonging which cannot be justified in words. This thread symbolises mutual respect and togetherness. I am truly proud to serve these brothers who work tirelessly to help build marvelous projects, such as this beautiful upcoming mandir.”

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