Dubai: The new Hindu temple due to open in Dubai’s Jebel Ali on October 5 will begin accepting QR code-based appointment bookings from visitors from September, temple officials told Gulf News .
As previously announced, the new temple will open its doors to visitors for the Hindu festival Dussehra, said Raju Shroff, one of the temple administrators.
“We are ready to open the temple to the public on October 5 as planned. Before that, we want to educate the public on how to visit the temple and how to control the crowds,” Shroff said as workers continued to put the finishing touches on the majestic structure.
Licensed by the Community Development Authority (CDA) of Dubai, the new 70,000 square foot temple and community center is an extension of the six-decade-old Sindhi Guru Darbar Temple in Bur Dubai. It is located in the Corridor of Tolerance in Jebel Ali which houses several churches and the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara.
Considering the huge traffic in the area and to keep visitors safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shroff said temple management decided to launch an online reservation system for visitors.
“We will open the reservation system through our existing website and a new app which will be launched by September 1.”
Shroff said the temple will be opened in two phases. “We will first open the first floor place of worship for Dussehra and the rest of the facilities will be open in phase two by January 14 (Makarsankranti Day).”
On the first floor, the temple will house a prayer hall with 16 deities revered across India and a section for the Guru Granth Sahib – the holy book of the Sikhs. Only that area will be open to visitors until Jan. 14 for crowd control, Shroff said.
“We expect huge crowds of devotees to visit the temple and offer prayers. It will be difficult to manage the crowds if we also open the other areas where visitors can also participate in various community events.”
These spaces include a 4,000 square foot banquet hall, a function room and a ground floor knowledge room. On the first floor, sacred places have also been dedicated to nine planets and a Tulsi plant podium (holy basil).
All these facilities will only be open to the public from January 14. Visitors to the temple can hold weddings, ritual tonsure, havans (a ritual burning of offerings), and cultural events at these facilities. The temple also has a well-equipped kitchen and a dry and cold storage facility.
Interfaith leaders were invited to host on-site and online sessions in the Knowledge Room.
The temple will also hold celebrations for festivals such as Diwali and Navratri after the official opening.
Temple hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A floating population of around 1,000 visitors can be accommodated at any given time in the temple which will be open from 6am to 9pm.
“We will arrange different queues for families and singles to visit the temple. Families can book appointments in groups of up to six using a member’s email and phone number,” Shroff explained.
Registered families will receive information regarding temple activities, festivals, auspicious times, and more. from the management of the temple.
N. Mohan, chief executive of the temple, who accompanied Gulf News on a tour of the temple premises, said temple management will work with several entities to arrange parking spaces and shuttle services for visitors.
“Since we want to reduce traffic congestion, especially on weekends, we are exploring possibilities of partnering with RTA to increase connecting buses from nearby metro stations to our premises. We are also asking Festival Plaza Mall to allow temple visitors to park their cars in the mall.
Visitors are encouraged to use public transport. Ibn Battuta Metro Station and Energy Metro Station are the closest metro stations to Dubai.
Mohan said a group of craftsmen from Rajasthan in India continued to put the finishing touches on the temple’s intricate marble designs.
“We have workers of different denominations working in the temple. They devote themselves wholeheartedly to this project because they respect its sanctity,” said Mohan.
According to Shroff, a contemporary design that retains the essence of a traditional Hindu temple was chosen to give the structure the feel of an “Emirati-Indian” structure.
“We incorporated various Arabic elements like the mashrabiya motif in the architecture to make it an ‘Emirati-Indian’ structure. Although we have adopted contemporary architecture, the prayer hall and deities follow the traditional style.
He said the fusion of Arabic architecture in the structure of the temple was also done as a sign of gratitude to the local government who donated the land to the temple.