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PM Modi inaugurates UAE’s first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) It was indeed a proud and historic moment for Hindus from across the world as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Mandir, the first Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Wednesday.

With Sanskrit shlokas and vedic hymns reverberating across the Abu Dhabi skyline, PM Modi arrived at the temple premises at 6 p.m. (IST) and was welcomed by BAPS’ Ishwarcharandas Swami and other delegates.

Offering flower petals at the feet of Lord Swaminarayan, PM Modi proceeded to perform rituals, which began with offering the holy Ganges water, as part of the inauguration ceremony, which co-incided with the auspicious Basant Panchmi festival.

Seated alongside Mahant Swami Maharaj, who arrived in the Gulf nation on February 5 to preside over the historic inauguration, PM Modi performed the ‘global aarti’.

Following the inauguration, PM Modi gracefully bowed and sought Mahant Swami Maharaj’s blessings as he was garlanded by the seer.

He proceeded to offer holy water to the idol of Maharaj Swami Narayan and inscribed the message of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ — world is one family — on a stone at the temple.

The inauguration of the iconic temple was celebrated through the ‘Festival of Harmony’ — a series of uplifting programmes and community events focussed on strengthening faith, mobilising community service, and inspiring harmony among people of all generations and backgrounds.

The celebrations began on February 10 and will continue until February 21.

Ahead of PM Modi’s arrival, the entire campus had been decorated with auspicious symbols, including messages of ‘Welcome’ in Sanskrit, Arabic, English, and Gujarati.

“The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi serves as a spiritual oasis for global harmony that celebrates the past and recalibrates the future. It is a timeless testament to the spirituality of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and the generosity, sincerity and friendship of the leaderships of the UAE, India and BAPS,” Brahmaviharidas Swami, who has been overseeing the Mandir project, said earlier.

Spread over a 27-acre piece of land, gifted by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the iconic stone temple is located in Abu Mureikhah, near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway.

Featuring the traditional Nagar style of architecture, the temple stands tall at 108 feet and is crowned with seven shikhars (spires) each representing one of the seven emirates of the UAE.

With two central domes, ‘Dome of Harmony’ and ‘Dome of Peace’, the temple’s entrance is marked by eight idols, which symbolises the eight values foundational to Sanatana Dharma.

As per reports, the cost of the construction is estimated to be around 400 million UAE dirhams.

After the UAE government allotted land for the temple in 2015, PM Modi thanked the leadership of the Gulf nation on behalf of 130 crore Indians and called it a “landmark” move.

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