Indian PM Modi opens Abu Dhabi’s grand BAPS Mandir

Indian PM Modi opens Abu Dhabi’s grand BAPS Mandir
Courtesy: ANI

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the majestic Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Mandir, the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Upon his arrival at the temple premises, PM Modi was welcomed by BAPS' Ishwarcharandas Swami. He offered prayers at the temple and performed aarti. The temple was inaugurated on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchmi, which fell on February 14 this year.

People gathered for the occasion also raised "Modi, Modi" slogans and he waved towards them.

Addressing the crowd at the inauguration, the PM said: "UAE has written a golden chapter. The inauguration of the temple has years of hard work and dreams of many are connected with the temple. Swaminarayan's blessings are also connected.

"This temple will be a symbol of unity & harmony...The role of the UAE government in the construction of the temple is commendable," PM Modi added.

"UAE, which till now was known for Burj Khalifa, Future Museum, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and other hi-tech buildings, has now added another cultural chapter to its identity [...] On behalf of the entire India and millions of Indians living around the world, I express my heartfelt gratitude to President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UAE Government," the Prime Minister added, urging the gathering to give a standing ovation to the UAE President.

'BAPS Mandir' is the first traditional Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates and sits on 27 acres of land that was generously gifted by the UAE leadership.

Commenting on the special occasion, former Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Suri, said: "I think it's a very symbolic day for the Indian community, for the large Indian diaspora that we have in UAE. For many years, it's been a spiritual need, a religious need for them. And I know that in 2015, when the Prime Minister came here for the first time, he put in a request to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, then crown prince of Abu Dhabi, that it would be nice if some land could be granted."

Standing tall at 108 feet, the BAPS Hindu Mandir is not only a symbol of spiritual devotion but also a marvel of engineering and craftsmanship.

The iconic project was carried out by the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, one of India's leading business houses in partnership with BAPS.

In this project, Shapoorji Pallonji successfully integrated modern technology such as security, lighting systems and air-conditioning with the traditional requirements of ancient Indian architecture.

The foundation stone of the architectural marvel was laid by Prime Minister Modi in 2017, reflecting the collaborative effort to bring this vision to life.

The estimated cost of this magnificent construction, a testament to the devotion and commitment of the community, is Dh400 million.

Dubbed as a "lotus in the desert," the temple embodies the spirit of cultural peace and collaboration and is a testament to the enduring friendship between India and the UAE.

“We, at Shapoorji Pallonji, are deeply honoured to have had the opportunity to work with BAPS and create this incredible monument that brings together art, harmony and faith. Apart from being a celebration of cultural diversity, this is a testament to our engineering expertise” said Shapoorji P Mistry, Chairman, Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

It has distinctive water features, which represent three major rivers - Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. The main temple is constructed on a raft foundation using UAE’s largest single pour of unreinforced fly-ash concrete. Instead of iron and steel reinforcements, bamboo sticks and glass fibre were used.

The temple façade is built on this foundation, using 40,000 cubic meters of marble from Italy and 1,80,000 cubic meters of pink sandstone from Rajasthan. Thousands of artisans and volunteers intricately carved the stones in Rajasthan, for BAPS. These were then put together in Abu Dhabi like a giant jig-saw puzzle.

(With ANI inputs)

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