UAE capital gets its first Hindu temple

Abu Dhabi to build the temple using fly ash concrete

Diaspora

February 21, 2020

/ By / Kolkata

Foundation stone-laying ceremony (credits: opindia)

The first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi has started its construction two years after its groundbreaking ceremony and has announced that it will use no iron or steel elements in the process.

UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi has started construction of its first temple and announced that the construction will use no steel or ferrous material. It will be built following the lines of temples in India, the committee officials have said. It will instead use fly ash concrete.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid down the foundation stone for the temple in 2018. Two years after that groundbreaking ceremony, the Swaminarayan temple of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) saw a construction milestone with the first fly ash concrete pouring for its foundation in presence of a large number of expatriates of Indian diaspora.

Ashok Kotecha, the spokesperson of the temple committee describing the ceremony said that while usually foundations of building have a mix of steel and concrete, they are following the traditional temple architecture in India and thus no steel or ferrous materials will be used. “Fly ash will be used to reinforce the concrete in the foundation. Throughout the whole structure of the temple, the architecture is like several pieces of jigsaw put together without any steel or ferrous materials,” he said. More than 3,000 craftsmen have been employed in India to carve icons and statues with 5,000 tonnes of Italian Carrara marble while the exterior of the temple will be built using 12,250 tonnes of pink sandstone.

Pavan Kapoor, the Indian ambassador to UAE and Vipul, the Indian Consul General in Dubai were also present at the site along with other eminent members of the Indian business community and members of the Community Development Authority (CDA), Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Kapoor thanked the UAE government in his address to the audience and said that it was a privilege and honour to be at the temple site for the first time. Omar Al Muthanna, chief executive officer, CDA, Dubai said, “Religion is a key factor to feel at home. The UAE is not a passing home. We want you to feel completely at home and this is our commitment to you.” The CDA is the religious observer from the government of UAE.

Brahmavihari Das, the senior most saint of the BAPS Swaminarayan temple group conducted the ceremony with special prayers for the smooth running of the project and welfare of UAE. “This temple transcends the borders that divide us. It is destined to be a place beyond the limits that split us. [It’s] something we have experienced within the depth of our souls in the UAE,” Das said while addressing the gathering.

There are as many as 2.6 million Indians living in UAE constituting 30 pc of the total population of the country. With majority of the Indian diaspora being followers of Hinduism, the inauguration of the Hindu temple was quite anticipated event for the Indians in the Gulf region. The temple is being built by the BAPS in Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi and is spread across 20,000 square metres. The only other Hindu temple in the Gulf nation is located in Dubai.

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