• Wednesday, April 17, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Modi inaugurates BAPS Mandir, first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi

Earlier in the day, the consecration ceremony of the BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi was held ahead of its inauguration

A devotee blows a conch shell (Shankha) during preparations ahead of the arrival of the Indian prime minister for the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, the largest Hindu temple in the Middle East, in Abu Dhabi on February 14, 2024. (Photo by RYAN LIM / AFP) (Photo by RYAN LIM/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

The Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi was inaugurated by India’s prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (14) amid devotional chants and in the presence of spiritual leaders of the Swaminarayan sect.

Dressed in a light pink silk dhoti and kurta paired with a sleeveless jacket and stole, the prime minister participated in rituals of a ceremony to dedicate the temple to the people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (PTI Photo)

The prime minister also participated in “Global Aarti”, which was performed simultaneously at over 1,200 temples of the Swaminarayan sect worldwide built by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS).

Earlier, Modi met people from different faiths who contributed to the construction of the first Hindu stone temple here.

The prime minister also offered water in the virtual Ganga and Yamuna rivers at the temple before proceeding to inaugurate the temple built on a 27-acre site in Abu Mreikhah, near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway, at a cost of around Rs 700 crore.

According to the temple authorities, the grand temple has been built as per an ancient style of construction and creation mentioned in the Shilpa and Sthapathya Shastras, Hindu scriptures which describe the art for mandir design and construction.

The newly constructed BAPS Hindu Mandir, ahead of its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (PTI Photo)

“The architectural methods have been clubbed with scientific techniques here. Over 300 high-tech sensors have been installed at every level of the temple to measure temperature, pressure, and movement (seismic activity).

The sensors will provide live data for research. If there is any earthquake in the region, the temple will detect it, and we will be able to study,” Swami Brahmaviharidas, head of international relations for BAPS, told PTI.

No metal has been used in the construction of the temple and fly ash has been used to fill up the foundation, replacing 55 per cent of cement in the concrete mix, reducing the carbon footprint of the temple.

Madhusudan Patel, the temple’s construction manager, said, “We have used heat-resistant nano tiles and heavy glass panels, merging both traditional aesthetic stone structures with modern-day functionality. Considering the extreme temperatures in the UAE, the tiles will be comfortable for visitors to walk even in hot weather. Non-ferrous material has also been used in the temple.”

Constructed with 18 lakh bricks, seven lakh man hours and 1.8 lakh cubic metres of sandstone sourced directly from Rajasthan — Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple has been made in the Nagara style of architecture, just like the recently inaugurated Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

According to Umesh Raja, a volunteer at the temple, 20,000 tonnes of sandstone pieces were carved in Rajasthan and then shipped to Abu Dhabi in 700 containers.

“Not just the stone, many labourers who helped construct the temple over five years belong to Gujarat and Rajasthan. Even the marble mined from Italy was first shipped to India for carving and then back to the UAE to be used in the interiors,” he said.

The work for the structure has been going on since 2019. The land for the temple was donated by

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the spiritual guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Mahant Swami Maharaj during the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (PTI Photo)

the UAE government. The UAE has three other Hindu temples that are located in Dubai. The BAPS temple, spread over a large area with stone architecture, will be the largest of all in the Gulf region.

Prime minister Modi is in the UAE on a two-day visit, his seventh visit to the Emirates since 2015 and his third in the last eight months.

(PTI)

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