The Middle East's first Hindu stone temple will be constructed in Abu Dhabi by 2020, reported Khaleej Times
Made on 55,000 square metres of land, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Sunday (today) and has been called a historic event by Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri.
"At Dubai Opera House, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with the Indian community. The occasion is going to be historic for a different reason because it will also see the commencement of the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi," said Suri.
He went to say that, "We are very pleased that we have received 55,000 square metres of land near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway."
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"On Sunday, you will see a groundbreaking ceremony, which is going to be live-streamed into Dubai Opera House. It's going to be tradition meeting technology, " he added.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be laying the temple's foundation stone during the event. Construction of the temple is expected by to completed by 2020 and will be open to people of all religious backgrounds.
While the UAE already has two Hindu temples in Dubai, a spokesperson from Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) said the temple in Abu Dhabi will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East. BAPS manages almost 1,200 temples in India, UK, the US, Australia, Canada and Africa.
The design, construction and management of the temple has been entrusted to BAPS, who said the temple will be an "architectural marvel", and "the temple will be hand-carved by Indian temple artisans and assembled in the UAE".
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The land for a Hindu temple was a generous gift by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed alNahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Force. BAPS spokesperson, Sadhu Brahmaviharidas said the gift sends a strong message to the world "that cultural and spiritual inclusiveness is the way forward for global harmony."
"Especially in the 21st century, when the world is fragmenting for frivolous reasons, this timely noble gesture creates hope for unity in diversity. It reinforces the guiding vision of tolerance and harmony of the founding fathers of the UAE. We are sincerely grateful and indebted," Brahmaviharidas added further.
The temple will include a visitors' centre, prayer halls, sports area for children, thematic gardens and other facilities.
"Moreover, as a landmark addition to the UAE skyline, the temple will become a beacon of beauty, an oasis of peace, an ocean of spirituality and a home of harmony - a global symbol of faith and friendship," BAPS spokesperson added.
This article originally appeared on Khaleej Times
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