Modi with a display of the Abu Dhabi temple during his address in Dubai Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: The 70-year-old temple in Bur Dubai will remain a separate entity from the Abu Dhabi shrine, whose foundation stone was laid by Indian Prime Narendra Modi through a video-conference on Sunday, a top Indian community leader said.

Separate entities

Speaking to XPRESS, Vasu Shroff, Indian businessman and head of the six-member Sindhi Guru Darbar Committee that runs the Bur Dubai temple, said, “These are two separate entities. The temple in Bur Dubai was established in 1958 and has been operating in the Meena Bazaar area all these years. In fact, we have also sought land from the authorities so we can move to a larger, open space.”

He said around 5,000 people visit the Bur Dubai temple over the weekends and the number goes up to around 100,000 during festivities. “The place tends to get very congested and managing the crowds can be a challenge sometimes. So we are waiting to move to a bigger premises in an open area.”

Welcoming the high-profile project to be built in the capital by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sansth, Shroff said, “Like the temples they have built in India, US and UK, this too will be a wonder of the world. The temple will be a big draw as there are over three million Indians in the UAE.”

Addressing a packed audience at the Dubai Opera on Sunday, Modi thanked His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on behalf of the Indian diaspora for making their dream come true.

He said the temple would serve as a catalyst to foster global harmony and humanity, even as it would make an emphatic statement for India’s identity.

He said the Indian community should tread carefully and guard against any wrong-doing. “It is our responsibility to make sure we do not commit any mistake,” he noted. Ahead of his speech, the foundation laying ceremony of the temple in Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Highway was beamed live to the audience. A stone and marble monument coming up on 55,000 square metres of land, the magnificent structure is expected to have seven towers representing the seven emirates.