Abu Dhabi: The generous gift of land for a Hindu temple by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is a strong reaffirmation of the UAE’s cultural and spiritual inclusiveness and spirit of tolerance, according to the trust that will manage the temple.

Such a gesture is the way forward for creating global harmony and a world full of peace and respect, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha said in a statement.

“In the 21st century, when the world is fragmenting for frivolous reasons, this timely and noble gesture creates hope for unity in diversity. It reinforces the guiding vision of tolerance and harmony of the founding fathers of the UAE. We are sincerely grateful and indebted to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as the people of both nations for their commitment towards peace and harmony,” the statement said.

Modi, who will arrive in the UAE on a two-day visit on Saturday, is expected to witness the ground-breaking ceremony of the temple on Sunday morning from Dubai Opera.

Open to people of all beliefs and backgrounds, races and religions, the temple will be a part of the UAE’s mission of happiness and harmony by helping to foster love, tolerance, understanding and peaceful coexistence, the statement said. It will serve the more than 3.3 million Indians residing in and the millions of international tourists annually visiting the UAE through interfaith dialogue, pluralism and universal human values.

The organisation said it was both honoured and humbled to have been invited and entrusted to design, construct and manage the first stone temple in the region.

It will be built at Abu Mureikhah, off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway, and will incorporate all aspects of a traditional Hindu temple as part of a fully functional, social, cultural and spiritual complex. The stones will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE. Expected to be completed by 2020, it will also include a visitors’ centre, prayer halls, exhibitions, learning areas, sports area for children and youths, thematic gardens, water features and a food court, the statement said.

The Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a socio-spiritual Hindu organisation set up in 1907 that runs more than 1,100 temples and cultural compounds around the world, including the Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi and others in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia.