The first Hindu temple at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is likely to be ready by 2020. Preparations for construction of the temple, a project approved by the Abu Dhabi government during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the UAE in 2015, have begun in the capital’s Al Rahba area.
In accordance with the legal requirements to begin the construction, the temple construction committee will appoint consultants within a month, the Gulf News reported, citing a senior priest.
“Once the consultants are selected, everything has to be done through them as they can take further steps as per the local rules and regulations,” the publication quoted Sadhu Brahma Viharidas as saying. Viharidas, who is in charge of the Middle East at BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha that will build and manage the temple, was in Abu Dhabi on July 23 to participate in the consultation process.
“Now everything is in place… the legal entity has been registered and the UAE Government has granted the required [initial] permission [for the building project],” Viharidas added.
The temple will be built on a 14-acre plot of land, that was gifted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, at Abu Mureikhah in the Al Rahba locality on Abu Dhabi-Sweihan-Al Ain Road, near the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway. It will be modeled after the Akshardham Temple in New Delhi, and will feature seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE. The complex will also include a visitors’ center, prayer halls, sports area for children and youth, thematic gardens, water features, a food court, book and gift shop, besides other facilities.
Slabs of marble and other stone will be handcarved by artisans in Pindvada, Sikandra and other rural workshops in Rajasthan, and assembled in the UAE. The arches, pillars and domes of the structure will feature motifs of peacocks, elephants, trees and flowers, and delicate carvings will narrate ancient stories from Indian scriptures about peace and spirituality, thenational.ae had reported earlier.
Arches, pillars and domes interlaced with motifs of peacocks, elephants, trees and flowers will greet visitors. The temple will be open to people of all religions and cultures.
The project’s cost cannot be estimated at this stage since the architectural plan is not yet complete, Viharidas told the Gulf News.
“There is a very high level of ambition that this landmark [temple] will become an integral part of the impressive skyline of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, showcasing not only the best of Indian culture and civilization but could also be a testimony to the UAE’s own spirit of tolerance,” Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, said, according to the publication.
Modi had earlier this year unveiled the model of the Swaminarayan temple of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha through videoconferencing from the Dubai Opera House. “I believe this temple will be unique in architecture and splendor and will give a message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam to the people across the world,” he had said at the occasion.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, had also visited the Akshardham temple in New Delhi during his trip to India last month.