Dubai: The Hindu temple in Bur Dubai reopened at 6pm on Tuesday, a day after the area was cordoned off following a fire in two shops within the complex early Monday morning.
As the premises opened, Vasu Shroff, Chairman of the Sindhi Gurudwara, told Gulf News, “Everything is fine. Water and electricity to the temple have been restored. The alley in which the gutted shops are located have been cleared and the public can visit the temple again.”
Freezer short circuit
Jaya Prem Dhansinghani, owner of the Khalifa Adnan Novelties gift store, which was completely gutted in the fire said, “From what we know so far, the fire started in a shop in front of ours due to a short circuit in the freezer connection. It quickly spread to our store and destroyed everything that was inside. We are now trying to estimate the extent of the huge damage.”
Asked if they planned to move out of the area, Dhansinghani said, “We do not plan to shift. Once we get the necessary permission, we will get the power connections restored and renovate the premises.”
Shroff said there are around 30 shops in the area, with most of them having shifted to the outer periphery of the complex.
He said this was not the first time there was a fire in the temple complex. “The first occurred in 1975 when the temple area was completely gutted. We subsequently rebuilt the structure. The second fire was around 20 years ago when my earlier office adjoining the temple went up in flames,” said Shroff.
The MONDAY MORNING FIRE
According to Shroff, the temple will mark the Hindu festival of Mahashivarathri slated for February 21 as planned.
“We are expecting 50,000-60,000 people during the course of the day on Friday. It will be a smooth sail as usual and we thank the authorities for their prompt action,” he added.
Shroff said the six temple employees who were evacuated from the three rooms atop one of the gutted shops have been provided alternate accommodation.
The temple complex, which dates back to the 1950s, is a major tourist attraction in Dubai. Located on the banks of the Dubai Creek, the Hindu temple, initially conceived as a prayer hall, was built on the first floor of a row of shops selling a variety of novelty items.
Nestled in the midst of the old alleys of the Textile Souq, the temple is visited by thousands of devotees and others alike for its old world charm. It has been built on land donated by Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum.