A model of the BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi
A model of the BAPS Hindu Mandir under construction in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

DUBAI: The Hindu temple being constructed at Abu Dhabi will mark Janmashtami, a Hindu festival, at the venue on August 23, which happens to coincide with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on Sunday that Modi will be in Abu Dhabi on a two-day visit starting Friday to receive the UAE Zayed Award en route to Bahrain.

The announcement has left many wondering if Modi will attend the Bochanswasi Akshar Purshottam Swaminarayan Santha (BAPS) temple site’s Janmashtami (birth of lord Krishna) festivities, invites for which have already been sent out.

The invite mentions a cultural programme at the venue from 5 to 7pm, followed by dinner (Maha Prasad). The programme includes a performance of devotional songs, narration of Krishna katha (legend of Krishna) and lighting of lamps.

A source at the BAPS temple said: “We have made arrangements for over 1,200 people to be here on the day, but have absolutely no intimation if the honourable Indian Prime Minister Modi will be attending the event ... We came to know about his impending arrival on Sunday night, we have not extended any formal invitation to him.”

However, there have been whispers that since Modi is spiritual and usually observes a fast during the Janmashtami festival, there is a chance that he might pay a visit.

The BAPS celebrations will be led by Swami Bramha Vihari.

On August 15, the temple committee had celebrated the festival of Raksha Bandhan by inviting 1,200 blue collar workers from across many workers’ accommodations in the UAE. “Our members tied rakhi on the wrist of the workers and served them food. It was an inclusive gesture on our part as many of them were missing their sisters and the festivities. The workers were overjoyed.”