FIRST HINDU TEMPLE IN UAE
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Thousands of followers are expected to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi.
- Thousands of Indians rejoiced and participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony of the first Hindu temple in UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi.
- The ceremony was begun in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the religious and social organisation constructing the temple. Swami Maharaj is the Spiritual Head of over 1,200 temples and 4,200 centres of spirituality worldwide.
- 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
- Indian Ambassador to UAE Navdeep Suri read out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the occasion, congratulating the Gulf nation for this initiative.
Features planned in the temple’s construction:
- The main ceremony will see the priests sanctify pink sandstones that will be used to set foundation of the temple. All these stones are transported from Indian state of Rajasthan.
- The temple will be a cultural complex with art gallery, halls, library and gym, it said, adding that it is not clear when the temple would be completed.
- The temple with seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE will 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.
- These plans have been there for many years now, and very little progress has been made. As far back as in July 2013, a Muslim businessman donated five acres of land adjoining a mosque for setting up a Swaminarayan temple just outside the city of Abu Dhabi, off the highway going towards Dubai.
- The plan to build the temple in the UAE’s capital was approved by the Abu Dhabi government during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the country in 2015.
- According to reports, the temple will be permitted to contain only paintings of Hindu gods but no idols because idols (“graven images”) are forbidden in Islam. A non-Muslim place of worship, if built within a Muslim state, needs to be in compliance with Muslim beliefs and not their own beliefs.
- India-UAE ties have been elevated to a new level ever since Modi visited Abu Dhabi in 2015. From inviting India for the first time ever as a guest of honour in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) despite a boycott by Pakistan, to promising to invest $75 billion to boost infrastructure and to opening up the defence and space sector partnership, ties have come a long way in the past three years.
- Investments have been made into National Infrastructure Investment Fund from Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund.
- The UAE has also contributed in building strategic oil reserves besides investing jointly with Saudi Arabia in a refinery project in Maharashtra.
- The Abu Dhabi crown prince, who was the Republic Day chief guest in 2017, also played a key role in defusing the recent India-Pakistan tensions.
- The UAE, on its part, is now looking to increase quota for its airlines from various Indian states, including Kerala.