The epitome of harmony: BAPS Abu Dhabi temple inaugurated by PM Modi


On the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami, February 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the architecture marvel and magnanimous temple built by the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) in Abu Dhabi. UAE’s President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had gifted 13.5 acres land on which the main building of the temple is built.

The temple stands tall as the epitome of communal harmony, a goal envisioned by both India and the UAE. Apart from the mesmerizing beauty of the temple, what is striking is the beautiful confluence of religions that led to its construction. The lead architect of the BAPS Hindu Temple is a Catholic Christian, the project manager a Sikh, the foundational designer a Buddhist, the construction company a Parsi group, and the director comes from the Jain tradition.

The temple has carvings of symbolic animals native to the UAE like camels, oryxes, and falcons. There are also 14 depictions of parables from Arabian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and other civilizations.

The BAPS posted on X, “The camel; a symbol of persistence, commitment and endurance, has been etched into the carvings of the #AbuDhabiMandir while drawing inspiration from the landscapes of the UAE.”

The Prime Minister profusely thanked the President of UAE, Sheikh Mohammad Zayed Al Nahyan, for making the grand temple in Abu Dhabi a reality.  Whole-heartedly appreciating the contribution of the UAE president in making the grand temple a reality, he said, “If there is anyone who has the biggest and the most significant role in making this grand temple a reality, then it is none other than my brother His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.” “The Government of UAE has wholeheartedly worked to fulfil the aspirations of crores of Indians. The Government of UAE has not only won the hearts of Indians living in the UAE but also of all 140 crore Indians,” he said.

“I hope that the BAPS Mandir will become a symbol of communal harmony and global unity for the whole world,” Modi said, addressing a gathering that included UAE Tolerance Minister Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and spiritual leaders from all faiths. Modi said at every step in this temple one gets a glimpse of this confidence that strengthens belief in humanity.

“On the walls of the temple, alongside the Hindu religion, you will see hieroglyphs from Egypt. Stories from the Bible and Koran have been carved. At the entrance of the temple you get to see the wall of harmony which has been built by our brothers from the Bohra Muslim community,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the impressive 3D experience in this temple was initiated by members of the Parsi community and the responsibility of the langar was taken up by Sikh brethren.

“Members of every religion and sect have come forward to build this temple. The seven pillars of this temple represent the seven emirates. This is the nature of the Indian people. Wherever we go, we respect and imbibe their culture and values. This aspect of respect for every faith is also seen in the life of Sheikh Mohammad,” he said.

“I hope that the BAPS Mandir will become a symbol of communal harmony and global unity for the whole world,” Modi said, addressing a gathering that included UAE Tolerance Minister Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and spiritual leaders from all faiths. “We do not see hatred in diversity, we consider diversity as our specialty! In this temple, we will see a glimpse of diverse faiths at each and every step,” he further said.

The prime minister noted that this is not only the time of India’s ‘Amrit Kaal’, this is also the time of ‘Amrit Kaal’ of our faith and culture. Stating that every moment of his life and every molecule in his body is dedicated to Ma Bharti, the Prime Minister said, “The joy we felt in Ayodhya has been amplified in Abu Dhabi today. It is my honor that I witnessed the consecration of the temple in Ayodhya last month and this temple in Abu Dhabi today.”

The prime minister also offered water in the virtual Ganga and Yamuna rivers at the temple before proceeding to inaugurate the temple. 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.

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.

It has eighteen lakh bricks and 1.8 lakh cubic metres of sandstone directly from Rajasthan. Built in Nagara style of architecture, just like the recently inaugurated Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the BAPS temple is the Middle East’s first traditional stone Hindu temple.

The temple’s external facade uses pink sandstone from Rajasthan whereas the interiors use Italian marble. 20,000 tonnes of sandstone pieces were carved in Rajasthan and then shipped to Abu Dhabi in 700 containers. The artisans from villages in Rajasthan’s Makrana embarked on a creative journey in 2019 to bring the vision of the grand temple to life with their intricate sculpting, which continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Engineering experts and consultants from other parts of the world were roped in to build a temple of this scale in desert.

Several Bollywood celebrities Akshay Kumar, Vivek Oberoi, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan, among others attended the inauguration of the BAPS temple. Sharing his happiness about the opening of the Hindu Temple, Vivek Oberoi said, “It is incredible and inspirational.. .. The most beautiful thing was when PM Modi said that he worships Ma Bharti. It is a historic and important day. We are humbled and honored to be a part of it.”

AASTHA TV did a live broadcast of full event worldwide. Leading media channels were there including NDTV, Republic, AAJTAK, Reuters.

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