Foundation stone laid for first Hindu temple in UAE, thousands of Indians attend function

Thousands of Indians on Saturday rejoiced and participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony of the first Hindu temple in UAEs capital Abu Dhabi. Mahant Swami Maharaj, spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), which is constructing the temple, Indian Ambassador to UAE Navdeep Suri read out Prime Minister Narendra Modis statement on the occasion, congratulating the Gulf nation for this initiative. Suri said that the temple embodies the timeless Vedic values of Vasudev Kutumbakam, the whole world is one family. The plan to build the temple in Abu Dhabi was approved by the Abu Dhabi government during Modis first visit to the country in 2015. Priti Vaishnav, education and development expert, termed the temple as a well-deserved recognition of a thriving Indian community in the UAE. The temple will be a cultural complex with art gallery, halls, library and gym. It will comprise of seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE and come up on a 14-acre piece of land at Abu Mureikhah, close to the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway. The stones for the temple will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE. Bindu Suresh Chettur, prominent Indian lawyer, said this is a welcome development for the 3.3 million Indians living in the UAE and that it will help enhance people-to-people contact. This step will further boost the relations between the two countries. Also, the BAPS temple architecture is very unique so it will add to the long list of marvellous architectures in the UAE, Sajeev Purushothaman, spokesperson of the NRI cell of Bharatiya Janata Party, said, This temple is not just a place of worship, it is a place for human development and harmony to be created among communities. Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Al Nahyan received Swami Maharaj and his delegation of Hindu priests at Al Maktoum International Airport on Thursday. While interacting with Sheikh Nahyan, Swami Maharaj prayed for the good health and the prosperity of the rulers and people of the UAE. He guides the BAPS social, spiritual, cultural, educational, health, disaster relief and other activities. He is the sixth and present spiritual guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.