IANS

In a proud and historic moment for Hindus from across the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Mandir, the first Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying that the UAE has written a golden chapter and won the hearts of 140 crore Indians.

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.

“This temple will be a symbol of communal harmony and unity of the world,” he said.

“The UAE has written a golden chapter. The inauguration of the temple took years of hard work and the dreams of many are connected with the temple,” the prime minister added.

On behalf of the entire India and millions of Indians living around the world, the PM expressed his "heartfelt gratitude" to President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the UAE government.

"I am confident that a large number of devotees will come here in the coming times. This will also increase the number of people coming to the UAE and people-to-people connections will also increase," he said.

Asserting that the Gulf nation has written a golden chapter in human history, the PM said: “This temple will be a symbol of unity and harmony...The role of the UAE government in the construction of the temple is commendable..."

He ended his speech by requesting the attendees to give a standing ovation to President Al Nahyan.

Dressed in a light pink silk dhoti and kurta paired with a sleeveless jacket and stole, PM Modi participated in rituals to dedicate the temple to the people.

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 coincided 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'.

The 'aarti' was conducted simultaneously at over 1,200 temples of the Swaminarayan sect worldwide built by BAPS.

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' -- the world is one family -- on a stone at the temple.

UAE's tolerance and coexistence minister, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, who was also present at the ceremony, welcomed PM Modi and thanked him for strengthening ties between the two nations.

PM Modi interacted with members of the Indian diaspora and also met volunteers and key contributors, involved in the creation of the temple from its inception to its completion.

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.

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.


 

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)

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