'Masterpiece of art': Top UAE officials laud 'intricate detail' of Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi

The temple has a distinctive water feature that rises upwards against the falling water, symbolising the essence of life and its spiritual journey

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Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 9:20 PM

Last updated: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 10:24 PM

Top officials from the Department of Community Development (DCD) Abu Dhabi were left in awe of the intricately detailed hard-carved works of the region’s first traditional Hindu stone temple.

DCD Chairman Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Executive Director of the Strategic Affairs Office Mohamed Helal Al Balooshi, among others was part of the delegation that visited the BAPS Hindu Mandir, which is nearing completion.

Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas, head of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, gave the DCD team an elaborate tour of the temple, which is being built under his supervision.

The journey started with showering of petals on the bricks, which will be used for construction. The officials visited the waterfall feature, representing the source of the sacred Indian rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati; the amphitheatre; the eco-friendly shoe houses, which can accommodate up to 2,000 pairs of shoes; the ‘Orchard’, the food court, where the benches, tables, and chairs have been made using the wooden pallets used to transport the stones and which would normally be discarded.

Swami Brahmaviharidas revealed a distinctive water feature that rises upwards against the falling water, symbolising the essence of life and its spiritual journey.

Dr Al Khaili marvelled at the intricate carvings that adorned the temple facade, including animals native to the UAE – camels, oryxes and falcons. He viewed the carved depictions of 14 value tales selected from Arabian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Aztec and Indian civilisations.

Observing the detailed carvings of the moments from the Indian epic ‘Ramayana’ depicted on the outside of the spire that will house the deity Ram, Dr Al Khaili said: “This Mandir is really beyond my expectations… it is really a masterpiece of art.”

Each of the seven spires will feature carvings narrating the entire life story of the respective deity.

Five elements of nature

The delegation then proceeded to the first dome, known as the ‘Dome of Harmony’. Here, a captivating symbolism unfolds across five layers. The first layer depicts carvings of serene cows, embodying the essence of Earth. The next layer of intricate carvings of oceans and seashells artfully captures the spirit of water. The third layer showcases the sun in its 12 distinct forms, embodying the element of fire. Above that, carvings of deer leaping through the clouds represent the element of air. Finally, a celestial panorama of stars, galaxies and the moon grace the apex, symbolising the encompassing ether, or space, that unites us all.

The officials were introduced to the BAPS volunteers working on the interior of the temple.

“I have seen the effort that has been put in by the swamis and volunteers. This is a masterpiece of art. This Mandir gives you the feeling of harmony and peace,” Dr Al Khaili said.

The delegation saw the ‘pillar of pillars’ – adorned with 1,400 meticulously carved smaller pillars, each displaying symmetry and beauty. Lastly, they visited the central shrine where the statue of Shri Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj will be consecrated. Here, the marble pillars narrate incidents from the life of Swaminarayan, the founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, organisation building the temple.

“This is a great addition to our country. This is a place of worship where everyone from the UAE will come. Soon, we will celebrate the opening together. I would like to thank all the people who are part of this great project,” Dr Al Khaili added.

The temple will be made open on February 14 with a ‘Festival of Harmony’.

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