Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday officially launched a project for the construction of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, describing the holy place as a “catalytic agent” of humanity and harmony that will become a medium of India’s identity.
Mr. Modi laid the foundation stone for the BAPS Swaminarayan temple via video conferencing from the Dubai Opera House, where he addressed the members of the Indian community. “I would like to request all those associated with the construction of the temple that the rulers here have shown so much respect for India. They have been proud of India’s cultural history. Now it’s our responsibility that there is no mistake on our part,” he told the gathering, amid applause.
Mr. Modi asked people associated with the construction of the temple and also the worshippers not to cause any harm to others. “This is my expectations from you,” he added.
The temple will come up on 55,000 square metres of land. The structure will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE. It will be completed by 2020, and open to people of all religious backgrounds.
It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, said a spokesperson from the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a socio- spiritual Hindu organisation set up in 1907 that runs more than 1,100 temples and cultural compounds around the world.