The construction of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will start after three months, a senior priest told Gulf News on Sunday.
The final design of the temple is not yet ready and the construction would begin after finalising the entire plan, said Sadhu Brahma Viharidas, who is in charge of the Middle East at BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha that will build and manage the temple.
Asked the total cost of the project, Viharidas said: “I can only tell you once the final design is ready.”
“Today being an auspicious day, ‘Bhumi pujan’ (sanctifying the ground) and ‘Shila pujan’ (sanctifying the stone) ceremonies were performed,” he said.
It was a pure Vedic ritual in the presence of more than a thousand devotees and members of various other communities, he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seated at the Dubai Opera, watched the rituals through live-streaming from Abu Dhabi. He also unveiled the model structure of the temple at the event.
The temple with seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE will come up by 2020 on a 14-acre land at Abu Mureikhah of Al Rahba area on Abu Dhabi-Sweihan-Al Ain road, close to Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway.
Community members shared their happiness about the upcoming temple.
Jeena Acharya, 46, who works as a dealer at a private firm in Dubai, said it is a dream coming true for the community. She was happy to work as a volunteer at the ceremony. “I am eagerly waiting for the temple to come up and I will spend my Fridays here,” said Acharya from Mumbai, who has been living in Dubai for 25 years.
Megha Thakkar, 31, a homemaker in Dubai, said it was a special feeling to attend the commencement ceremony. “We are very happy,” said Thakkar, who’s from Gujarat and has been living in Dubai for 8 years.
Jignesh Patel, 30, a civil engineer, said it was a milestone achieved in the history of Indian community in the UAE.
The site being close to the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, people from Sharjah and Dubai can easily reach here, he said.
Sawroop Jangid, 35, an entrepreneur, said: “It was a wonderful experience to attend the ceremony.”
He said the location of the temple was apt for a shrine. “It will be an independent structure in a calm and quiet place. That means a lot,” Jangid said.
The Abu Dhabi government has allotted about 14 acres (55,000 sqm) for the temple construction.
The government had approved the plan to build the temple during the first UAE visit of Modi in 2015.
The stones for the temple will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE.
The temple itself is expected to cover about five acres of land.
It will also include a visitors’ centre, prayer halls, exhibitions, learning areas, sports area for children and youth, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, book and gift shop and other facilities.