UAE: Indian PM Modi to inaugurate Abu Dhabi Hindu temple on Feb 14

The much-awaited opening of the iconic BAPS Hindu Mandir will be marked with a unique ‘Festival of Harmony’

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Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Fri 29 Dec 2023, 7:51 AM

Last updated: Sun 31 Dec 2023, 3:14 PM

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the region’s first traditional Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi, according to BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha — the organisation building the temple.

The much-awaited opening of the iconic BAPS Hindu Mandir will be marked with a unique ‘Festival of Harmony’ on February 14, 2024.

On behalf of the temple, Pujya Swami Ishwarcharandas and Swami Brahmaviharidas, along with the board of directors, met Modi at his official residence of 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in New Delhi, to extend an invitation to inaugurate the BAPS Hindu Mandir.

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“Prime Minister Modi graciously accepted the invitation, expressing his enthusiastic support for the historic and iconic temple,” the temple representatives said.

According to the statement, Modi highlighted that the BAPS Hindu Mandir would promote the message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – a Sanskrit phrase meaning ‘The World Is One Family’.

“It will reflect the ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – an ideal spiritual space, not merely rooted in beliefs and traditions, but a confluence of diverse cultures and civilisations. The essence of spiritual harmony, symbolising the path forward,” Modi said.

During the meeting, Swami Brahmaviharidas briefed Modi about the latest updates of the temple while emphasising its intricate carvings and all-inclusive grandeur.

“The inauguration ceremony will be a great event, a millennial moment of celebration for time to come,” Swami Brahmaviharidas said.

A Vedic ceremony led by His Holiness Pujya Mahant Swami Maharaj will be held as part of the opening, which will be an invitation-only event. BAPS Hindu Mandir, built on 27 acres of land in Abu Mureikha under the supervision of temple head Swami Brahmaviharidas, will be made open to the general public on February 18.

It was in August 2015 that the UAE government allotted land to build a temple. President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan gifted the land during Modi’s visit to the UAE. The foundation stone laying ceremony was held in February 2018.

Among the recent milestones was the placing of ‘kalash’ – a steeply pointed structure on top of the seven spires of the temple, along with the flagstaff. Currently, final phase works are underway at the hand-carved temple made of white marble and pink sandstone.

The monumental work of artisans depicts key moments from the Indian epics Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other narratives from Hindu scriptures and mythology. It also includes portrayals of 14 value tales selected from Arabian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Aztec, and Indian civilisations, and sculptures with animals native to the UAE such as camels, oryxes and falcons.

Modi appreciated the efforts of the key individuals, volunteers and supporters involved in the project, including the core team members present during the meeting like chairman Ashok Kotecha, vice chairman Yogesh Mehta and director Chirag Patel. The prime minister recognised their contributions as “significant sources of pride for India”.

Discussions during the meeting underscored the temple’s significance for global harmony and Modi’s vision for India’s spiritual leadership on the world stage.

The temple hailed as a “spiritual oasis for global harmony”, is expected to last more than 1,000 years. Further details regarding the opening ceremony and registration, can be found by downloading the app Festival of Harmony or visiting https://festivalofharmony.ae.

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