Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan (centre), Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, visits the Guru Nanak Darbar at Jebel Ali on October 30, 2013. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The Sikh community in Dubai hailed the visit of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, to Guru Nanak Darbar at Jebel Ali on Wednesday.

The first such visit by a shaikh to the temple, which opened in January 2012, Sikhs in Dubai hailed it as a momentous occasion.

Shaikh Nahyan hailed the Guru Nanak Darbar as a symbol of the multiculturalism of the UAE.

Likening the UAE leadership’s vision, which welcomes people of all faiths and ethnicities to the country, to that of Indian Emperor Akbar, Shaikh Nahyan called the UAE a cradle of all faiths.

“I commend the Sikh community’s dedication for building such a wonderful place of worship,” said Shaikh Nahyan as he visited the temple.

He termed the Guru Nanak Darbar as the most beautiful Sikh temple after the Golden Temple of Amritsar.

However, he added that a building is nothing but stones and mortar, it becomes known only for what it stands for.

“We are really pleased by the visit of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan to our centre. We extended an invitation to him to come and visit the centre and we are honoured that he accepted it,” said Kulwant Singh, chairman of Lama Group and one of the prominent members of the Sikh community in Dubai.

Guru Nanak Darbar, the first Sikh temple and community centre in the UAE, is visited by around 400 worshipers every day. The number goes up on Fridays, when around 7,000 converge to the state-of-the-art facility.

Built on land gifted by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the 100,000 square feet facility caters to a community of around 40,000 Sikhs in the UAE.

The only Sikh community centre in the region, Guru Nanak Darbar offers free lunch, dinner and breakfast to all its visitors daily.