The historic foundation stone-laying ceremony of the first traditional Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi was performed on Saturday, April 20 in the presence of thousands of Indian community people and officials from India and the UAE.
The ‘Shilanyas Vidhi’ ceremony was presided over by Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha – the religious and social organisation building the temple.
The ceremony started with rituals led by Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami. Sanskrit verses filled the air as priests described to devotees how each ritual had to be conducted.
Community leaders and devotees followed the directions from their respective seated areas which had a tray placed in front of them containing a brick, rice, flowers, nuts etc.
Once the ceremonies were complete, between 10.50am and 10.55am the foundation stone was laid by priests and BAPS Hindu Mandir committee head and community leader B.R. Shetty. There were some 50 priests who had come from India and were part of the ceremonies.
The temple will be built in phases with all pink stones and marbles being transported from Indian state of Rajasthan to the UAE capital.
The temple with seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE will come up on a 14-acre piece of land at Abu Mureikhah, close to the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway. The stones for the temple will be carved by temple artisans in India and assembled in the UAE.
The plan to build the temple in the UAE’s capital was approved by the Abu Dhabi government during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the country in 2015.