The foundation stone of the BAPS Hindu temple was laid in February, 2018 Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/XPRESS

Abu Dhabi: The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi will be inaugurated during Expo 2020 Dubai, according to Dr B.R. Shetty, chairman of the non-profit Mandir Limited, which is working with India-based BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha on the project.

Speaking to XPRESS following a function held in the capital last week to announce the project’s lead consultant and designer, he said, “A major part of the Hindu Mandir project will be completed by 2020.”

He said, “The construction start date has not yet been fixed since we want to perfect the design of this once-in-a-lifetime and monumental project. Thereby, we can honour the generous gift and vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.”

Last week, Mandir officials held a special function to announce the lead consultant and designer - Raglan Squire and Partners (RSP), a Singapore architectural firm - for the project.

Agreement

An agreement to this effect was signed by Dr Shetty and Lai Huen Poh, global managing director of RSP Architects, Planners and Engineers on the occasion. Among those present were Navdeep Singh Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE, and SaSmuel Tan Chi Tse, Ambassador of Singapore to the UAE. Several volunteers and community leaders also attended the event.

Suri, who addressed the gathering, said, “India and Indians here in the UAE recognise that the UAE shares our values of inclusiveness and mutual progress, and today’s event is representative of that. The UAE has the highest spirit of tolerance and brings people of all faiths and cultures together to develop a monumental project.”

Tan Chi Tse said: “I am pleased that a Singaporean firm was chosen for this auspicious project. We treasure and guard the same values as India and the UAE. The entire essence of this project serves as an example of how different faiths and nationalities can come together.”

The project is being developed in Al Rahba. In February this year, senior leaders behind the Mandir were welcomed by His Highness the Crown Prince at the Presidential Palace, even as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the project at Dubai Opera. BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s traditional architects (sompuras) and engineers will design the stone temple, while RSP’s experts will work with the core team and other sub-consultants like Ramboll to build the temple. The complex will house multiple prayer halls, a pure vegetarian food court and dedicated areas for kids’ activities, exhibitions and other events.