Hundreds of locals took part in the ceremony led by Pujya Brahmvihari Swami
The first traditional Hindu stone temple in the United Arab Emirates will open to the public in February 2024, a high-level envoy has said.
Indian Ambassador to UAE Sunjay Sudhir is optimistic that despite the challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic, the BAPS Hindu Mandir will be completed in less than two years.
“This temple is a story of love and the collective aspirations of the people. It’s a story of harmony because different communities are involved. The temple will be opened in February 2024,” Sudhir said during the “Mahapeeth Pujan Vidhi” – a religious ceremony to place the first sandstone on the second floor of the temple.
“It is a historic day. It is thanks to the kindness of the Royal Family, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This temple is for all who visit here with hope” , he said at the temple under construction in Abu Mureikhah, near the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway.
Hundreds of locals took part in the ceremony led by Pujya Brahmvihari Swami of BAPS Hindu Mandir on Friday morning.
In his address, Swami said, “Today is historic for several reasons. Today (May 27) is Yogiji Maharaj’s 130th birthday. Shikhars (spiral structure) will start from here (second floor). Those gathered here are unique human beings who have touched the shikhar (stone) of one of the most innovative Hindu temples in the world.
3,000 artisans at work
Swami pointed out that the temple was built by 3,000 craftsmen under the supervision of 10 priests.
“Thousands of residents come here every Sunday to lay bricks. It’s the result of everyone’s love, effort, sweat and inspiration.
The temple is being built on land donated by Sheikh Mohamed. The foundation stone of the temple was laid in April 2019 and work began in December.
“When we dug just three feet, we found a bedrock of stone,” he said, pointing to the solid base of the temple.
BAPS Hindu Mandir is constructed with hand-carved pink sandstones shipped from India. The construction follows the ancient Hindu ‘shilpa shastras’ – the Sanskrit scriptures of architecture. Each hand-carved sculpture of varying sizes showcases India’s rich culture and history and also includes Arabic symbols.
There will be seven spiers and five domes, and the complex will have a visitor center, prayer rooms, a library, a classroom, a community center, majilis, a amphitheatre, playgrounds, gardens, book and gift shops, food court and other facilities.
The temple will be the first and only stone structure of its kind that will feature more than 300 high-tech sensors integrated at 10 different levels to provide active online data of stress, pressure, temperature and seismic events for the next 50 years.
The temple is expected to stand for at least 1,000 years.
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