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Ganga and Yamuna holy water, Rajasthan sandstone to grace Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu stone temple

Abu Dhabi, Feb 12 (ANI): A view of the first Hindu temple, ‘BAPS Mandir’ in Abu Dhabi on Monday. It will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 14. (ANI Photo)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Holy water from the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna, pink sandstone from Rajasthan, furniture made from wooden trunks used to transport stones from India – the first Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi has been built with contributions from different parts of India.

Temple authorities said the place of worship features an amphitheatre, with water from the River Ganga, which was transported using huge containers.

Abu Dhabi, Oct 18 (ANI): Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami visits the BAPS Hindu Temple which is under construction, in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

“The idea was to make it resemble the ghat of Varanasi where the visitors can sit, meditate and get transported mentally to ghats back in India,” said Vishal Patel, a lead volunteer at the temple.

“When visitors walk in, they will see two streams of water that symbolically represent the Ganga and Yamuna rivers in India. A beam of light to represent the river Saraswati will be directed from the temple structure to form the ‘Triveni’ Sangam,” Patel added.

The temple’s facade features marble carvings set against a sandstone backdrop, crafted from more than 25,000 pieces of stone by skilled artisans from Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Pink sandstone was sent from northern Rajasthan to Abu Dhabi for the temple.

Vishal Brahmabhatt, who supervises procurement and logistics at the site, said more than 200,000 cubic feet of “sacred” stone was sent from India in more than 700 containers for the temple’s construction.

“The pink sandstone was brought from India. The carving was done by sculptors there and the stones were retrofitted here. Then the artisans gave the final shape to the designs here (in Abu Dhabi),” he said.

The wooden trunks and containers in which the stones were packed and transported to Abu Dhabi have been reused to make furniture at the temple.

Swami Brahmaviharidas presents a 3D printed model of the Mandir to H.E Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan – Image Credit: BAPS.org

Swami Brahmaviharidas, head of international relations for BAPS, said “The entire furniture which has been placed at various places inside the temple – including prayer halls, cafeteria, community centre etc – has been made using the wood from the boxes and trunks which were used to transport the stones. There is a bit of India in every corner of the temple”.

The temple complex is bordered by buildings that house prayer halls, a community centre to host cultural events, a library, a children’s park and an amphitheatre through which a stream cuts across.

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