BAPS Hindu Mandir, a testament to Indian culture...

The first Hindu temple in the Middle East, BAPS Hindu Mandir was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on February 14, in a grand ceremony. This significant accomplishment marks a historic milestone in fostering cultural and religious unity, and in strengthening bilateral relations between India and the UAE.

An architectural marvel, the Mandir towers over the sandy landscape of the UAE. It is nestled in 27 acres of desert land, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi - thanks to the generous donation of land by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

The Mandir is open to all faiths and is an initiative of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, the institution behind several Swaminarayan temples across India and the world. It is a testament to India’s culture and its ancient skills in architecture and sculpture. It has been built in strict accordance with age-old Indian texts and derives its inspiration from a lotus motif. It has seven spires, which represent the seven Emirates of the UAE.

The temple complex has seven ancillary buildings, to cater to 15,000+ visitors daily. It has distinctive water features, which represent three major rivers - Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. The main temple is constructed on a raft foundation using UAE’s largest single pour of unreinforced fly ash concrete. Instead of iron and steel reinforcements, bamboo sticks and glass fiber were used.

The temple façade is built on this foundation, using 40,000 cubic meters of marble from Italy and 1,80,000 cubic meters of pink sandstone from Rajasthan. Thousands of artisans and volunteers intricately carved the stones in Rajasthan, for BAPS. These were then put together in Abu Dhabi like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Shapoorji Pallonji Group, which is 159 years old, has built several landmarks across the world earlier. It has been present in the Middle East for close to 50 years, beginning with the Sultan’s Palace in Muscat, in 1975. Some of its recent marquee projects in India are Bharat Mandapam and Kartavya Path in New Delhi, Port Blair Airport, and Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh.