Preparations begin for Abu Dhabi Hindu temple. It was during the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s previous trip in 2015 that the UAE government announced the allocation of a 14-acre land plot (55,000 sqm) for the temple construction in Abu Mureikhah of Al Rahba area, off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway; the temple, as approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, is scheduled to be built by 2020 with seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE.
While the UAE already has two Hindu temples in Dubai, the temple in Abu Dhabi will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East. The design, construction and management of the temple has been entrusted to BAPS, the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, a socio-spiritual Hindu organization which will manage the temple as it does with other places of worship and cultural compounds around the world. BAPS said the holy place will be an “architectural marvel” that will incorporate all aspects and features of a traditional Hindu temple.
There are many Hindus in Arab states. Hinduism is practiced by a large percentage of the community of Indians living in the UAE and that’s why Hindu temples exist in the country.
The new and first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi is now and will be a welcome addition for the Indian community living in the capital. As for the cost of the project (Dh400 million /699 crore Indian rupees), community members will fund the construction.
PM Modi was again in the UAE to witness the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the first Hindu temple in UAE. The presentation of the project was live streamed at the PM’s community reception in the UAE where a model was displayed during the ground-breaking ceremony from Dubai Opera House. This has been called a historic event by Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri. PM Modi actually unveiled the model and thanked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for graciously donating the land.
“The temple will be a part of the UAE’s mission of happiness and harmony – a global symbol of faith and friendship,” BAPS spokesperson said, and “help foster love, tolerance, understanding and peaceful coexistence.” Strengthening the link between the two countries will also be the actual construction material; in fact, the stones used on the construction site will be actually carved in India by artisans and then brought to the UAE for assembly.
The temple will be an occasion to further develop the various Indian cultures and traditions within the UAE. It will be a landmark not only for the estimated 3,3 million Indians residing in UAE according to figures of the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, but also for the millions of international tourists visiting the country.
According to Sadhu Brahmaviharidas, the chief spokesperson of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the Hindu Temple is expected to have a magnificent architectural structure like the other Akshardham temples and will include “a visitors’ centre, prayer halls, exhibitions, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, a books and gift shop and other facilities.” Indian expats from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain will have close access to the temple, but the structure will be “open to people of all beliefs and backgrounds, races and religions…” Abdullah Bin Jassim Al Mutairi said: “UAE society has always been characterized by openness [of thought and practice].”
The temple is also a great occasion for the strengthening of the relationship between India and UAE. PM Modi on his 2015 trip to the UAE, for example, met with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to also discuss expanding cooperation in trade & investment, defense & security, etc., creating an extraordinary partnership that will elevate the bilateral relations in the years ahead beyond their traditionally close and friendly ties.