The capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi is all set to get its first Hindu temple with the foundation stone laying ceremony of the place of worship going to be held in April 2018.
The plan to build the temple was approved by the Abu Dhabi government during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the country in 2015. The organisation building the temple, the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS), stated that its spiritual leader Mahant Swami Maharaj will preside over the event. The foundation stone laying ceremony of the temple will be held on April 20, 2018. While, the ground-breaking ceremony for the temple, located near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, was held a year ago.
The temple is being built on 55,000 square metres of land, and this year, to mark the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, the government has gifted another 55,000 sqm for parking facilities. The temple with seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE. Currently, the Shiva and Krishna Mandir in Dubai is the only Hindu temple in the UAE.
What is a Mandir?
A Mandir is a Hindu place of worship which connects man with God. Believed to be a bridge between earth and heaven, its stone art and architecture, forms and carvings symbolise both the wonders of nature and the mysteries of the universe.
A Mandir is the divine home where God resides to bless and inspire the faithful. In the words of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the inspirer of this Mandir, “a Mandir is a place of paramount peace” – where the mind becomes still and feels the Divine.
Apart from preserving art, culture and spiritual values, a Mandir is also a centre of selfless humanitarian services that support and sustain the social and emotional needs of humanity at large.
The Mandir in Abu Dhabi
In addition to the universal inspirations provided by the more than 1,200 BAPS mandirs around the world, the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi hopes to:
- Be a part of the UAE’s mission of happiness and harmony by helping to foster love, tolerance, understanding, and peaceful coexistence.
- Facilitate the traditional practice of the Hindu faith, interfaith dialogue, pluralism and universal human values.
- Serve the 3.3 million Indians residing in the UAE and millions of international tourists annually visiting the UAE.
The traditional stone Mandir will be enhanced by a multifaceted, multifunctional cultural and spiritual centre. As the largest place in the UAE for people of all faiths to come and experience Hindu culture and religion, the BAPS Hindu Mandir complex will include the following facilities to meet the needs of the UAE community:
- Visitor’s Centre
- Prayer Halls
- Learning Facilities
- Play Areas for Children & Youth
- Garden & Water Features
- A Vegetarian Food Court
- Books & Gifts Shop
Mandir Design and Construction
The BAPS Hindu Mandir at Abu Dhabi will be a unique architectural feat, built according to the ancient Hindu shilpashastras (Sanskrit scriptures of architecture).
Entirely sculpted from stone, every design and feature of the Mandir – from foundations to flags, pillars to pinnacles – is inspired by nature and identifies with the body of the divine. Every corner and crevice will be intricately hand-carved by hundreds of artisans in India. Once ready and numbered, thousands of such stone pieces will be shipped to the UAE and assembled on site like a giant 3D jigsaw puzzle. This magnificent Mandir shall be a marvel of seven spires and five ornate domes that we hope will serve the UAE and the world for millennia to come.