The four-level gurudwara in Jebel Ali sprawls a massive 100,000 square feet with a prayer hall, above, that can accommodate up to 3,000 people Image Credit: © XPRESS/Pankaj Sharma

Dubai: Mauve-coloured carpet, ornate chandeliers and modern acoustics lend a distinct touch to the column-free main prayer hall, topped by an 18-metre glass dome that offers generous lighting.

These are some of the unmissable details that greet visitors to the Dh73 million Gurunanak Darbar Gurudwara complex in Jebel Ali. It opened in January and adjoins a cluster of churches in Jebel Ali, has spacious halls and given great attention to finishing detail following a three-year construction.

Until recently, Dubai's Sikh community prayed at a gurdwara in the temple complex in Bur Dubai.


"Bahut achcha [very good]," said Paramjit Singh, 45. "No words can express the gratitude I feel when I come to this gurdwara. We are very thankful to Dubai's Ruler, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, for the land and the permission for us to have this place," said Paramjit, who has worked in Dubai for 12 years as a heavy equipment driver.

The gurudwara is fronted by a water body flowing around the façade. With a total area of 100,000 sqft (approx 25,000 sqft at each level), the new multi-storey centre was built with money donated by the Sikh community and has a dedicated floor for feasts, an intermediate floor and two basement parking levels.

Devotees leave their shoes in racks by the two entrances. Washing areas and water closets are fitted with some of the world's best plumbing equipment brands.

The main hall can accommodate up to 3,000 people at a time. And up to 600 people can eat together squatting on the ground floor on a carpeted marble floor served by volunteers who dole out free meals in the "langar" (dining hall) from about 7am till 11pm.

A modern kitchen is able to prepare 1,800 meals per hour and wash 1,200 plates and glasses an hour.

Grateful for tolerance

Parminder Singh, 22, a heavy equipment driver in Dubai from India's Hoshiarpur district in Punjab, said: "I try to come here whenever I can every day and volunteer my time. Of course we are grateful for the religious tolerance in Dubai."

Satinder Singh, 45, a driving school instructor in Dubai who also helps tidy up the area, added: "I'm so happy. Whenever I am here. I feel like I'm in Amritsar's Golden Temple."

Representatives of the estimated 50,000 member Sikh community in the UAE said they wish to keep a low profile.

"This is the first official Sikh house of worship in Dubai, and the whole community is extremely thankful to the Dubai government," said an official: "But we don't want to get too much attention to ourselves or our community."