PM Modi inaugurates grand BAPS temple in UAE

Wednesday 14th February 2024 09:01 EST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Mandir in Abu Dhabi, the first Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates.

Ahead of the inauguration, Prime Minister Modi offered water in the virtual Ganga and Yamuna rivers in the temple premises and then proceeded to offer prayers inside the temple.

“The BAPS temple will be an enduring tribute to the values of harmony, peace and tolerance, which both India and the UAE share,” PM Modi said in a statement ahead of his visit to the Middle East nation. The consecration ceremony was held earlier in the day.

The pink sandstone temple sits on a 27-acre plot in Abu Dhabi, making it one of the largest in the Middle East. While Islam is the official religion of the UAE, the country is home to about 3.6 million Indian workers.

The guest list for the inauguration ceremony at the temple included Indian government officials, Bollywood stars and members of the billionaire Ambani family. Senior Abu Dhabi officials were also in attendance.

Former Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Suri, said that it is a very symbolic day for the Indian community, adding that it has been a spiritual as well as religious need for them.

“I think it's a very symbolic day for the Indian community, for the large Indian diaspora that we have in UAE. For many years, it's been a spiritual need, a religious need for them. And I know that in 2015, when the Prime Minister came here for the first time, he put in a request to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, then crown prince of Abu Dhabi, that it would be nice if some land could be granted,” he said.

Singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan also arrived at the temple and expressed happiness over the opening of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi.

"This is an extremely happy moment for India and Indians all over the world. This is a historic moment in our lives where we are going to witness a Mandir which is so magnificent and spiritual coming on a land like Abu Dhabi. Only our PM Narendra Modi can execute this..."

This is the second major religious site to be inaugurated by PM Modi in recent weeks. In January, he presided over the consecration ceremony of the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya which was built on the site of a demolished 16th-century mosque following the resolution of a decades-long legal battle.

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