• Saturday, February 24, 2024

ASIA

Abu Dhabi BAPS Hindu temple awaits grand inauguration on February 14

The temple in Abu Mureikhah district will be the first traditional Hindu stone mandir in the UAE.

The BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which will be inaugurated on February 14, 2023. (Picture: BAPS)

By: Shubham Ghosh

LESS than a week is left for the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, UAE, by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi; His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the current president of BAPS and dignitaries from the host nation and from across the world.

The mandir in Abu Mureikhah district, which has already earned massive praise for its magnificent structure and architecture, is set to be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the UAE. The temple embodies not just spiritual significance but also a powerful narrative of interfaith harmony and cultural exchange.

Its journey, paved with the cooperation of the UAE government and the dedication of BAPS, reflects a shared vision for a world where diverse communities thrive together.

Read: Ambassadors and diplomats from 42 countries visit Abu Dhabi’s BAPS Hindu Mandir

The seeds of the temple were sown in April 1997, when HH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the then spiritual leader of BAPS, envisioned a mandir in Abu Dhabi that would “bring countries, cultures, communities and religions closer together.”

This vision found fertile ground in the UAE’s growing embrace of tolerance and religious freedom.

Read: Preparations on for Modi’s mid-Feb UAE visit for BAPS temple inauguration

A defining moment arrived two decades later, in February 2018, when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the then crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the current president of the UAE, generously gifted a plot of land, demonstrating his country’s
unwavering commitment to interfaith dialogue.

The momentum received further boost when Modi launched the project the same month.

However, the story of the BAPS temple goes much beyond official pronouncements. It takes root in the vibrant history of the
Hindu community in the UAE. Since the nation’s founding in 1971, Hindus have formed a significant part of its multicultural tapestry.

Their presence, nurtured by the UAE’s welcoming environment, fueled the desire for a spiritual space that reflected their cultural heritage.

For decades, Hindus in the UAE have nurtured their faith through weekly satsang assemblies, gatherings dedicated to prayer, spiritual discourses, and community building. These assemblies, further strengthened by regular visits of spiritual leaders from India, provided a sense of belonging and shared purpose. It was within this fertile ground of devotion and community
spirit that the dream of a mandir truly blossomed.

The groundbreaking ceremony, the Shilanyas, held in 2019, marked the beginning of a remarkable journey. Dignitaries from both India and the UAE gathered to celebrate the commencement of construction, signifying the shared commitment to realising the project.

HH Mahant Swami Maharaj arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday (5) as a state guest to preside over the inauguration of a Hindu temple. Upon arrival at the airport, he was warmly greeted by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE’s minister of tolerance.

“Welcome to the UAE. Our nation is blessed with your presence. We are touched by your kindness and we feel your prayers,” he told Mahant Swami Maharaj. In response, the latter said, “We are touched by your love and respect. The leaders of the UAE are great, good, and large-hearted.”

The inauguration of the temple will be celebrated through the ‘Festival of Harmony’ – a series of uplifting programs and community events focused on strengthening faith, mobilizing community service, and inspiring harmony among people of all generations and backgrounds. The occasion will also include the inauguration ceremony which will be attended by Modi and several other dignitaries.

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