Hand-carved Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi to open to UAE residents starting March 1

Estimated read time 3 min read

The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi. SUPPLIED

UAE residents can visit the newly opened Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi starting on March 1, temple representatives said.

Since it opened to the public on February 18, only overseas visitors and VIP guests have been allowed to visit the BAPS Hindu Mandir. A temple spokesman said that this will continue until February 29.

However, starting on March 1, the temple will be also open to visitors within the UAE, and the temple timings are from 9am to 8pm. It will remain closed every Monday.

Organizers said there has been huge public demand to visit the temple, which is why UAE residents are urged to visit from March 1 onwards to avoid huge crowds of foreign visitors.

Visitors have been requested to register through the Festival of Harmony app or the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha website. Entrance is free.

The BAPS Hindu Mandir is considered one of the largest and most beautiful Hindu temples outside of India and the largest Hindu temple in west Asia.

It is the first Hindu temple in UAE and is located in Abu Dhabi’s Abu Mureikha area off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway.

Construction of the temple began on December 2019. The temple was created using 1.8 million bricks, pink sandstone and marble. Using an ancient Indian construction technique, the temple and its components are all carved and hand-pieced together without using any steel.

The two-storey structure is topped by seven spires above the stone murals to represent the seven emirates. The temple houses Hindu deities and features hand-carved marble sculptures depicting 14 stories from ancient civilisations, considered the first of its kind in a Hindu temple. The sculptures also feature camels, falcons and horses as homage to the UAE.

An impressive dune structure made with sand from all seven emirates of the UAE will greet visitors as they enter the temple. The structure was created as a tribute to the vision of the Sanstha’s late spiritual leader, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who, while in the middle of a desert in Sharjah in 1997, wished for a temple to be built in Abu Dhabi.

On the sides of the temple are illuminated canals and waterways with holy water specially flown in from Ganga and Yamuna rivers in India.

The Hindu temple sits on 5.4 hectares of land that was donated to the Indian community in the UAE by President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan when he was Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in 2015. The temple complex can accommodate up to 2,000 worshippers.

The Hindu temple has a temple complex with a community centre, exhibition hall, visitor centre, food court, parks, amphitheater, water features, parking for cars and buses, and two helipads. ICA/Expat Media

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