Indians rejoice as stone laid for first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi: Thousands of Indians on Saturday rejoiced and participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony of the first Hindu temple in UAE's capital Abu Dhabi.
Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), which is constructing the temple, presided over the four-hour ceremony following which sanctified bricks were placed at the main pooja sthal (place of worship).
Indian Ambassador to UAE 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 symbolise the universal human values and spiritual ethos that form a shared heritage of both India and the UAE," he said. Suri said the temple embodies the timeless Vedic values of Vasudhaika Kutumbam, 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.
"This will also serve as a great venue for tourism from all over the world as these temples spearheaded by BAPS are amazing pieces of architecture as well as famous for their larger than life manifestation," Vaishnav said.
The temple will be a cultural complex with art gallery, halls, library and gym. It will comprise of seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE and come up on a 14-acre piece of land at Abu Mureikhah, close to the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway.
The stones for the temple will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE.