The foundation stone-laying ceremony of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will be held on April 20, according to the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Sanstha (BAPS) that is building the temple.
The ‘Shilanyas ceremony’ of the BAPS Hindu Mandir will be presided over by the spiritual leader of the BAPS, Mahant Swami Maharaj, confirmed the religious and social organization within the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism.
In a statement to Gulf News, BAPS said Maharaj will be making his first official visit to the UAE from April 18 to 29.
“He will preside over the Shilanyas Vidhi (foundation stone-laying ritual) on April 20 with members of the leadership of this nation. Aside from this, His Holiness will perform morning prayers every day [during] which all are welcome for darshan (viewing session for devotees). The exact location and time of these daily prayers are not yet finalized,” it said.
The announcement comes as the temple marks a year after the ground-breaking ceremony during which the first rites of Bhumi Pujan –sanctification of the land—were performed at the site in Abu Mureikhah area on February 11, 2018.
Witnessing the ceremony through a live stream at the Dubai Opera, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had revealed a model structure of the temple with seven towers representing the seven emirates in the UAE.
Dubbed an icon of tolerance and religious harmony in the UAE, the temple is being built on 13.5 acres (55000 square meters) land gifted by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to the Indian community.