Its journey, paved with the graciousness of the UAE government and the dedication of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, reflects a shared vision for a world where diverse communities thrive together
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Standing tall amidst the shimmering sands of Abu Dhabi, the BAPS Hindu Mandir is all set for its grand inauguration on February 14, 2024, by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, dignitaries from UAE and well-wishers from across the world.
This magnificent Hindu Mandir, located in the Abu Mreikhah district is set to be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the United Arab Emirates, embodying not just spiritual significance but also a powerful narrative of interfaith harmony and cultural exchange. Its journey, paved with the graciousness of the UAE government and the dedication of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, reflects a shared vision for a world where diverse communities thrive together.
The seeds of this dream 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.
A defining moment arrived in February 2018, when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, generously gifted a plot of land, demonstrating the UAE’s unwavering commitment to interfaith dialogue. This gesture, further strengthened by PM Modi’s launch of the project at the Dubai Opera that same month, marked a historic chapter in interfaith relations.
But the story goes beyond official pronouncements, taking 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 April 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 realizing this historic project. The mandir, designed and built with meticulous attention to detail, incorporates sustainable practices and features breathtaking architecture that seamlessly blends ancient Hindu temple designs with contemporary aesthetics, reflecting the harmonious marriage of tradition and modernity.
His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj arrived in Abu Dhabi on February 5, 2024, as a state guest to preside over the historic inauguration of a Hindu temple. Upon arrival at the airport, His Holiness was warmly greeted by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance for the UAE. His Excellency said to His Holiness, “Welcome to the UAE. Our nation is blessed with your presence. We are touched by your kindness, and we feel your prayers.” In response, Mahant Swami Maharaj warmly replied, “We are touched by your love and respect. The leaders of the UAE are great, good, and large-hearted.”
The inauguration of the iconic Mandir 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 ‘Festival of Harmony’ will include the grand inauguration ceremony of the Mandir on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, in the presence of esteemed dignitaries, including Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. The inauguration will be a momentous occasion, as the BAPS Hindu Mandir stands as a beacon of hope, reminding us that cultural diversity can be a source of strength and progress, paving the way for a more peaceful and inclusive world.
Brahmaviharidas Swami, who has been overseeing the Mandir project under the guidance of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, explained, “The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi serves as a spiritual oasis for global harmony that celebrates the past and recalibrates the future. It is a timeless testament to the spirituality of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the generosity, sincerity, and friendship of the leaderships of the UAE, India, and BAPS.”