Abu Dhabi: The official consecration of the landmark BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi will be held on Wednesday in an invitation-only ceremony in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other dignitaries.
Built by the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), the temple located on Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Road (E11), is one among the 1,100 mandirs and 3,850 centres of the volunteer-driven fellowship worldwide.
The temple will be open to those who have pre-registered on February 18. In view of the huge number of registrations from overseas visitors, the general public have been advised to visit the temple from March 1.
In the run up to the ceremony on Wednesday, the temple celebrated the ‘Festival of Harmony’ and the ‘Vishwa Samvadita Yagna’ (Vedic prayers for global harmony) on February 11.
Where: Abu Dhabi
When: February 14
Who: Invitees only
Check-in time: 2-3pm
Check-in location: Media tent opposite parking lot
Invitees need to be seated before 3.30pm as doors will close
Yagna is a devotional offering that serves to seek the Almighty’s blessings. The first-of-its-kind event in the region, it brought together dignitaries, spiritual leaders and members of the community to pray for peace, harmony and the well-being and success of everyone in the UAE and across the world, a statement from the temple said.
Seven expert priests had travelled from India to officiate the ancient ceremonial rituals, which connected participants through offerings and prayers. More than 200 devotees helped conduct the ceremony.
Swami Brahmaviharidas, leading the mandir project under the guidance of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, said, “The occasion served as the perfect way to pay tribute to the mandir’s message of global unity. The peace and co-existence that was evoked embodied a beacon of hope for future generations that the Mandir will reinforce.”
On January 31, the temple authorities gave the media an exclusive tour of the mandir.
The structure, which comprises seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE, is spread over 27 acres of land, donated by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Half a dozen trees brought in from the Czech Republic dot the walkway to the temple where three water bodies have been built to symbolically represent the sacred rivers of ancient India — Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi. Among the many attractions at the temple is also the ‘Wall of Harmony,’ a structure gifted by the Bohra community in the UAE.
The temple structure consists of over 30,000 carved stones, handcrafted by 2,500 artisans from Rajasthan in India. While the carvings of elephants, peacocks and cows depict stories related to Indian culture, those of oryx, gazelles, camels and falcons represent Arab culture.
The carvings on the pillars outside the structure tell stories related to Hindu scriptures. One pillar inside the temple is called the Maha Pillar or the Pillar of Pillars, which comprises 400 miniature pillars made of white Italian marble.
The central dome symbolises five elements of nature — earth, light, fire, air and space — spreading the message of harmony and interconnectedness among different communities.
An amphitheatre with a ghat-like structure (riverfront steps) makes one feel that one is watching it from India, while a dune set up on the other side with sand collected from the seven emirates gives a UAE feel to the complex.