His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was traditionally welcomed on behalf of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha by Brahmavihari Swami, as well as senior BAPS devotees and representatives from the UAE: Dr. B.R. Shetty, Shri Rohitbhai Patel, Shri Sudhir Shetty, Shri Yogesh Mehta, Shri Ashok Kotecha, Shri Keyur Nagori and others.
On viewing the magnificent Akshardham Mandir, His Highness was fascinated by the intricate carvings, amazing artwork and challenging stone engineering. He specially commended the spirit of the volunteers, “Incredible. In this age and time, volunteerism itself makes Akshardham special.”
Inside the Mandir, His Highness offered his respects at the central shrine of Bhagwan Swaminarayan by placing flowers.
He was delighted to see the excellent sculptures of the elephant plinth, and reflecting upon its messages of harmony patience, strength and wisdom, he commented, “Everyone in this world needs to understand each other and cooperate with one another.”
Thereafter, His Highness performed the abhishek ritual, and enjoyed the experiential boat ride through 10,000 years of Indian culture and the state-of-the-art Sahaj Anand water show depicting a timeless message from the Upanishads. He added, “We must build a future better than our past.”
His Highness also took this opportunity to openly express his support for the historic BAPS Hindu Mandir to be built in Abu Dhabi.
Sharing his sentiments about Akshardham, His Highness wrote: “With much pride I express my gratitude and appreciation to all those who took part in erecting this historical, cultural and religious monument, which reflects the power of the man upon whom God bestowed the mind in order to be blessed in doing this good.”