(Image source from: Vartha Bharathi)
Thousands of Indians in Abu Dhabi on Saturday participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi.
The four-hour ceremony was presided over by Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), which is constructing the temple, followed by placement of sanctified bricks at the place of worship.
Thousands of Indians in UAE join the Mahapuja for sanctifying each brick to be used for laying the foundation stone on the occasion of the Shilanyas of the historic Hindu Temple to be built in #AbuDhabi pic.twitter.com/Sid3CjtLQY— Doordarshan News (@DDNewsLive) April 20, 2019
Indian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Navdeep Suri read out Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on the occasion, congratulating the Gulf nation for this initiative.
“On behalf of 130 crore Indians, it is my privilege to convey our greetings to my dear friend and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” Suri quoted Prime Minister Modi as saying.
“When complete, this temple will symbolize the universal human values and spiritual ethos that form a shared heritage of both India and the UAE,” he said.
Suri said that the temple embodies the timeless Vedic values of Vasudev Kutumbakam, the whole world is one family.
“I am sure this temple will be a source of inspiration for the 33 lakh Indians residing in the UAE as well as of people from all other cultures,” Suri quoted Prime Minister Modi as saying.
The plan to build the temple in Abu Dhabi was approved by the Abu Dhabi government during Modi's first visit to the country in 2015.
Priti Vaishnav, education and development expert, termed the temple as a well-deserved recognition of a thriving Indian community in the UAE.
The temple will have a cultural complex with an art gallery, halls, library, and gym. It will comprise of seven towers standing for the seven emirates in the UAE and generate on a 14-acre piece of land at Abu Mureikhah, next to the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway.
The stones for the temple will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE.
Swami Maharaj is the Spiritual Head of more than 1,200 temples and 4,200 centers of spirituality across the world. He guides the BAPS' social, spiritual, cultural, educational, health, disaster relief, and other activities.
He is the sixth and existing spiritual leader of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
By Sowmya Sangam