On Sunday, 11 February, on the land generously gifted by a royal decree for a Hindu Temple, an auspicious Vedic Shila Pujan (foundation-stone sanctification ceremony) was performed by Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami, a senior swami of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha – the organization entrusted by the Crown Prince and Government of India to build the temple.
This auspicious ceremony at the temple site in Abu Dhabi was streamed live to the special assembly at the Dubai Opera, where the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narenda Modi, in the presence of over 1,700 Indian and Emirati dignitaries from all walks of life, unveiled a model of the traditional stone temple that will be built. In his address, the Prime Minister thanked the Crown Prince H.E. Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan for providing the land and permission for building a traditional temple. He further added, “The first traditional temple in Abu Dhabi will act as a catalyst for the fluorishment of humanitarian values and harmony between the two countries. The temple will become a medium for India’s identity.”
On the temple land, the ceremony to sanctify the stones that will be placed in the temple foundations was performed in a large marquee with a beautiful large cut out of the temple model forming the stage backdrop.
Several thousand devotees from all over the world, well-wishers and guests participated in the Shila Pujan ceremony at Abu Mureikheh, marking the first step in the construction of the traditional stone temple. Representatives of all Indian religious denominations and communities, as well as, representatives of the Jain, Sikh, Muslim, Christian and other faith communities also attended the auspicious ceremony. In particular, Pujya Gurudev Shri Rakeshbhai, a respected Jain guru and founder of the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission in Dharampur, India, participated in the Vedic rituals.
Commenting, the Consul General of India, Shri Vipulji, said, “This is a historic event, rightly called the millennial moment. The first traditional stone temple built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha shall serve the needs of the entire community. Closely working with their hundreds of volunteers and saints, I know the selfless spirit with which they dedicate themselves. The temple and its activities shall be path-breaking for promoting love, tolerance and harmony in the UAE and the neighbouring regions.”
Also, Dr B.R. Shetty, Founder & Chairman of NMC Healthcare and Chairman of UAE Exchange, and a leading member of the temple committee said, “I am speechless. The generosity of the rulers of the UAE, the clarity of India’s Prime Minister and the integrity and ability of the BAPS is incredible. We are soon going to have an iconic temple complex that will serve everyone for generations to come.”
The temple, inspired by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj and blessed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, will be a significant symbol of global peace and harmony.