Dubai: As the UAE celebrates 50 years of its Federation, the Shri Krishna Temple on Al Fahidi Street has many reasons to celebrate. According to Lalit Karani, chairman of the Shri Krishna Temple in Bur Dubai, the temple, which has come a long way since its inception, is a symbol of the UAE’s tolerance and peaceful co-existence between people of different nationalities.
Karani said the mercantile community which manages the temple has launched its own website this year, giving details of the temple’s timings, festivals celebrations etc. It will also be linked “The timing could not be better. The Indian community has been part of the country’s growth. Dubai - under the great leadership of its able rulers – is home to many Indian expats. We are very proud of the temple community,” said Karani.
A sevak or volunteer at the temple, Karanai said the Bur Dubai temple is a huge draw among the Indian expat community. It used to get an average footfall of 3,000 people every day during pre-pandemic times. On special occasions such as festivals – the footfall would go up to nearly 6,000, sometimes 10,000 a day.
“The Shri Krishna temple was established in 1935,” said Karani, but added that it existed in its earlier form since 1903.
“The premises where the Shri Krishna temple is currently lodged was actually a home. Back in the early 1900s, the temple had a cowshed and a well,” he said.
Many members of the mercantile community from Sindh grew up and went to school around the temple area. “There is so much history around this area for many families,” he added.
Karani said as more Indian businessmen came to Dubai and settled down in the area, the need for a community arose.
“Most of the business people who came to Dubai in the initial years belonged to a community called Thatta. They would come to pray at the temple. Some would help with cooking and distributing food to the community. Some volunteered to perform prayers. They managed the temple community. And they formed the mercantile community,” explained Karani.
According to him, “There are 365 days in a year and the temple celebrates 360 festivals. Throughout the year, we are active. We feel blessed to lived in a country like the UAE. The leaders are visionary and our community has grown so much, thanks to them.”
Karani said the provision of land to build a new temple, the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS) Mandir in Abu Dhabi, also speaks volumes for the ties between the UAE and India. The UAE allocated 14 acres of land for the temple in 2019 and construction is making brisk progress.