Dubai: Thousands of UAE residents have had the first glimpse of the new Hindu temple in Dubai after its soft opening earlier this month.
Ahead of its grand official opening in October, the temple, that welcomes people of all faiths, has allowed entry to worshippers and other visitors for viewing the 16 deities and other interior works.
All the deities were installed after special prayers were conducted for nine days for each deity and the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs, was also installed by the end of August.
Majority of the deities are installed in the main prayer hall that has a large 3D-printed pink lotus unfurling across the central dome. Several families had received a chance to take part in the ceremonies held for the installation of the deities.
The temple is located in what is described as the ‘Worship Village’ in Jebel Ali that houses several churches and the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara.
The soft opening of the temple was held on September 1 with the management activating the QR-code based appointment booking system via the website of the Hindu temple Dubai.
No rituals for now
From day one, the temple has been receiving a large number of visitors, especially over the weekends. The restricted entry has been regulated through QR-coded appointments for crowd management and to ensure social distancing.
The only activity that is currently being done is the chanting of Vedic shlokas by a group of 14 pandits, who have specially come over from India. This takes place every day from 7.30am to 11am and again from 3.30pm till 8.30pm. Visitors are allowed to take part in the chants.
The official opening ceremony of the temple will take place on October 4, according to the temple management.
Senior officials from the UAE and Indian governments, diplomatic missions and community leaders are scheduled to attend the event.
The temple will be officially open to the public from October 5, the day of the Dussehra festival.
The temple is open from 6.30am to 8pm. Appointments for most weekends till the end of October have already been booked.
From October 5, people, who have booked through the website, will be allowed entry without the hourly number restrictions which is currently in place.
The booking system will continue till the end of October after which members of the public will be free to visit the temple any time during its opening hours.
Visitors have been urged to use public transport to reach the temple.