Updated March 1st, 2024 at 13:17 IST

BAPS: Abu Dhabi's First Hindu Temple To Open For Public Today | All You Need To Know

BAPS Mandir: The first Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi which was inaugurated earlier this month, will open its gates to the general public on March 1.

Reported by: Digital Desk
BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi | Image:PTI
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Abu Dhabi: The first Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi which was inaugurated earlier this month, will open its gates to the general public on March 1. According to the Khaleej Times, the overseas devotees who had registered in advance were allowed to visit the temple from February 15 to 29. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the majestic Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Mandir, during his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, the BAPS Mandir became the focal point of cultural and spiritual significance, way before it opened to the general public. 

“The temple will be open to the public from March 1 from 9 am to 8 pm. The temple will remain closed for visitors every Monday,” a temple spokesperson said on Tuesday. According to the Khaleej Times, temple authorities have requested people to register through a dedicated website or the temple's official app: Festival of Harmony. The temple holds immense significance for the UAE since the country has at least 3.5 million Indians who are part of the Indian workforce in the Gulf. 

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Here's everything you need to know about the temple:

The first stone-built Hindu temple in the Middle East, belonging to Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha is seen before its opening ceremony in Abu Mureikha, 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 | Image: AP File Photo

About the BAPS Mandir 

The land for the grand temple was donated by the UAE government which reflects the Middle Eastern nation's strong ties with India. The mandir has been built by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Swaminarayan Sanstha on a 27-acre site in Abu Mureikhah, near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway, at a cost of around Rs 700 crore. The majestic structure comprises 18 lakh bricks and 1.8 lakh cubic metres of sandstone sourced directly from Rajasthan, and has been made in the Nagara style of architecture. The temple also comprises seven spires representing the seven Emirates of the UAE, carvings of camels, and the national bird falcon, giving adequate representation to the host country. “The seven spires have idols of deities, including Lord Ram, Lord Shiv, Lord Jagannath, Lord Krishna, Lord Swaminarayan (considered a reincarnation of Lord Krishna), Tirupati Balaji and Lord Ayappa. The seven ‘shikhars’ represent the seven Emirates of the UAE,” Swami Brahmaviharidas, head of international relations for BAPS, had told PTI.

 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,  holds an urn with water as he inaugurates the first stone-built Hindu temple in the Middle East, belonging to Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha in Abu Mureikha, 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 | Image: AP File Photo

A temple open to all faiths 

The BAPS Hindu Mandir can accommodate around 10,000 people at a time. The temple is also open to people of all faiths and religious beliefs. Noteworthily, the entry to the temple is completely free of cost. However, the visitors must register on the official website or through the Festival of Harmony app if they are planning to visit the temple. 

A group of devotees cheer as they pose for photographs before the opening of the first stone-built Hindu temple in the Middle East, in Abu Mureikha, 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | Image: AP

What are the visiting hours? 

The grand temple is open to visitors between 9 am and 8 pm. It is located in Abu Mureikha’s Al Taf Road (E16), off the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway. Public taxis, hiring vans and private buses, or carpooling are among the ideal means of transport for visitors. Notably, the BAPS organisation has built around 1,200 temples in India, the UK, the US, Kenya, South Africa and Australia.

Satellite image of the BAPS Temple | Google Maps

An Architectural Wonder 

According to The National News, over 2,000 artisans from India’s Rajasthan and Gujarat states have carved 402 white marble pillars over the past three years. The pillars hold stories from Indian scriptures and 1,000 statues that represent deities moulded into columns and ceilings. 

Swami Akshaymunidas, one of the main designers of the temple, poses for a photo under the dome of the first stone-built Hindu temple in Abu Mureikha | Image: AP

Over 20,000 tonnes of stone and marble were shipped in more than 700 containers to Abu Dhabi over the past three years for the construction of the temple. 

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Published February 27th, 2024 at 21:29 IST