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Envoys from over 30 nations visit upcoming BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi: ‘Spiritual oasis for global harmony’

India’s external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also took part at the event through a video presentation and shared online his hopes of what the temple would mean for the UAE and the world.

One of the ambassadors being given a traditional welcome at the under-construction BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023. Envoys from more than 30 nations visited the site. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

By: Shubham Ghosh

In a display of unity and mutual respect, ambassadors from more than 30 countries convened at the construction site of the BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Thursday (25). The aim of the visit was to promote intercultural understanding and witness the progress of the region’s first traditional Hindu temple. Upcoming on a site measuring 27 acres, the magnificent stone temple and cultural complex is a manifestation of the universal values of tolerance and harmony.

Ambassadors from over 30 nations visit BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi
Ambassadors and officials in front of the under-construction BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi on May 25, 2023. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

During their visit, the envoys were given a comprehensive overview of the temple’s historical significance, the process of construction and the expected impact through captivating video presentations and personal experiences, a press release from BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, said.

More than 85 esteemed guests were welcomed by individuals such as Ashok Kotecha, Yogesh Mehta, Chirag Patel, Pranav Desai and other dedicated directors and volunteers overseeing the construction work. The dignitaries were adorned with garlands and were welcomed with a traditional tying of a sacred thread, a revered Hindu gesture symbolising friendship and goodwill.

His Excellency Sunjay Sudhir, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, highlighted on the occasion the long-standing friendship between India and the UAE, rooted in history, culture, and trade.

Ambassadors from over 30 nations visit BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi
Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar virtually speaks at the assembly of ambassadors from over 30 nations who visited the under-construction BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

Praising the generosity of the UAE leadership, he said, “This mandir represents the collective aspirations of faith of the broad Indian community living in the UAE, especially the saints and volunteers of BAPS who are serving tirelessly and selflessly to build this mandir of tolerance and harmony.”

India’s external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also took part at the event through a video presentation. He shared online his hopes of what the mandir would mean for the UAE and the world as well as his deep respect for the vision and direction of the leadership of the Gulf nation.

He emphasised that one of the most touching and fulfilling moments of his life was the announcement and now seeing the BAPS Hindu Mandir coming up. He further added “real change is when different cultures connect with each other respectfully encompassing equality and fairness”.

Swami Brahmaviharidas thanks UAE, Indian leaderships

In his address, Swami Brahmaviharidas, head swami of BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, warmly welcomed the ambassadors exclaiming that the presence of the diplomatic fraternity and their families is a testament to the unifying power of faith and culture.

Ambassadors from over 30 nations are welcomed at the under-construction BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)
Israeli ambassador to UAE HE Amir Hayek (R) congratulates Swami Brahmaviharidas
for generating a climate of peace and confidence in the region and around
the world. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

“Celebrating the past, addressing the present and recalibrating the future, BAPS Hindu Mandir amalgamates ancient art and architecture, modern science and technology, universal values and spirituality. Your presence here sends a hopeful message of harmony and is a testament to the belief that dialogue, exchange and engagement can bring us all closer together and make
this world a happier place,” he said.

Thanking both the UAE and Indian leaderships, Swami Brahmaviharidas said, “we are equally grateful to HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Hon. Shri Narendra Modi. They are both visionary leaders who have encouraged pluralism and harmony. It is our hope that through this mandir, we will be able to serve the UAE and the world for millennia to come as a spiritual oasis for global harmony.”

One of the diplomats who visited the construction site of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023, being welcomed. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)
Swami Brahmaviharidas expresses gratitude and outlines the inspirational
and civilizational impact of the Mandir. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

After an initial briefing, the guests embarked on a guided tour by sprinkling flowers on the bricks to be used for the temple. The guests were amazed to see the wonder of the intricate carvings and delicate designs featuring timeless values of India and ancient civilizations.

Many were surprised to learn that tales from Arabian, Mayan, Greek and other cultures that encourage peace, tolerance and harmony have been immortalised in stone on the temple’s façade. Ensuring the mandir endures for centuries to come, skilled craftsmen from India meticulously created the artworks without any steel reinforcements and pieced them together like a giant stone jigsaw.

In light of the visit, the ambassador of New Zealand to the UAE, H.E. Dr. Richard Kay, conveyed his profound delight, stating, “the mandir — a cultural asset will be a fantastic addition to the skyline of the UAE.”

One of the diplomats who visited the construction site of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023, being welcomed. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)
A diplomat being welcomed at the construction site of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

Similarly, the Japanese ambassador to the UAE, H.E. Akio Isomata, was immensely moved with his visit. “I am overwhelmed with the Indian craftmanship. I see a philosophy of tolerance in the carvings,” he said.

Ambassadors from over 30 nations are welcomed at the under-construction BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)
One of the guests who visited the construction site of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023, being welcomed with a garland. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

H.E. Aminath Shabeena, the ambassador of the Maldives to the UAE, said, “One must truly visit and witness the detailed carvings and heartfelt emotions of the volunteers”.

She was impressed by the designs of the upcoming temple stating “the most striking carvings that represent the flora and fauna of India and the UAE”. She concluded “it is wonderous to see the tolerance of the leadership of the UAE”.

The Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Amir Hayek, shared his sentiments stating “this monument is being constructed in a country built on tolerance and will most certainly contribute to harmony in the region and the world”.

He also tweeted immediately after his visit saying, “I have no doubt that the temple will be a source of attraction for visitors from all over the world”.

As a mark of appreciation and to cherish the visit, each ambassador was presented a beautifully crafted miniature model of the temple.

One of the diplomats who visited the construction site of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023, being welcomed. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)
Diplomats from over 30 nations at the construction site of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on May 25, 2023. (Picture: BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi)

The BAPS Hindu Mandir, which will be opening in less than a year now, is already poised to add new landmark to Abu Dhabi’s celebrated collection of culture, art and values – from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to the Louvre and the Guggenheim.

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