The United Arab Emirates will receive its first Hindu temple after the foundation stone for the Hindu holy place was laid in Abu Mureikha, on the outskirts of the Middle Eastern city on the UAE – Abu Dhabi highway.
"Just as it's important to have your parents present, it will be invaluable to get the blessings of our gods and deities when you get married. We will have the opportunity to do this in the country we consider home. For us having the temple here is like marrying of the two cultures because our ceremonies can take place here," Sonali Patel, a resident of Dubai was quoted as saying by The National.
The stone laying ceremony or the 'Shilanyas Vidhi' took place on April 20, Saturday, on the land where the temple will be built on. This land was gifted to the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. He is also Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
'Shilanyas Vidhi' will be conducted by Mahant Swami Maharaj, the leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha will oversee the construction of the temple.
It will a four-hour ceremony. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Tolerance are some of the members of the UAE royal family who will be in attendance. Along with them, many worshippers also will be present for the function.
The Swami Maharaj and his entourage flew into UAE from India on Thursday. They were received by the Sheikh Nahyan.
The pink sandstones which will make the temple structure will be flown into the kingdom from Rajasthan. According to a report by The National, over 2000 craftsmen in India will be employed to design the structure and ship to the UAE. The report also claims that the concerned authorities will make sure that the material chosen will be able to handle the Middle Eastern summer since the mercury will rise to almost 50 degrees Celsius.
Marketed as a centre for all faiths, anyone can visit the temple which will be ready by 2020. "The significance is tremendous as it will provide a community home to Hindus and Non-Hindus alike," Swami Brahmavihari was quoted as saying in the report.
The temple can also serve as a tourist hotspot and have multiple features such as an exhibition, prayer rooms, learning areas, play areas for children, a restaurant which will serve vegetarian food as well as a gift shop.