The BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, witnessed a major construction milestone with the concrete pouring ceremony for its raft foundation.
Brahmavihari Swami and Akshaymuni Swami led the special prayers for the project during a ceremony to mark this auspicious occasion in the presence of His Excellency Pavan Kapoor, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE and His Excellency Shri Vipul, The Consul General of India to Dubai, Dr. Omar Al-Muthanna, CEO of the Community Development Authority and Mohandass Saini, CEO of Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd., and other distinguished guests.
During the ceremony, Brahmavihari Swami gave a detailed report of the progress of the Mandir’s construction, “We have been generously gifted the land by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and continually encouraged by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Our spiritual head, Mahant Swami Maharaj, performed the Shilanyas Vidhi on 20 April 2019. Today, we are embarking upon the unique Mandir raft which is built using a combination of ancient technology and modern instrumentation. This could not have been possible without the grace of God, the complete support of the community and the love of everyone present here today.”
H.E. Pavan Kapoor, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, addressed the gathering, “I have to give credit to my predecessor who supported this initiative and, most of all, to the UAE government for taking this enormous and very generous decision not just to donate the land, but to give the first license to the temple.” He added, “Till the temple is completed, BAPS has my full and complete support.”
Dr. Omar Al-Muthanna, Chief Executive Officer at the Community Development Authority, also addressed the assembly, stating, “We want this country to not just be a residency, we want you to feel at home. It is always positive to inject our community with religious individuals irrespective of their religion and this is our commitment to you. We wanted to be sure that we have selected the right partner; today is an excellent example that we have selected the right partner – BAPS. The BAPS Hindu Mandir came to us years ago with a dream and day by day this dream is becoming a reality.”
Attendees were then ushered to the construction site, where the prayers were offered prior to the first layer of fly-ash concrete mix being poured into the foundation. The ceremony marked a single pour of 3,000 cubic meters of concrete mix consisting of 55% fly ash, making the Mandir foundation environmentally friendly. This unique mix contains no steel reinforcements, following the ancient architectural tradition for religious stone buildings in India. This occasion marked the first and largest such concrete pour in the UAE. Moreover, more than 300 hi-tech sensors have been embedded at 10 different levels to provide online active data of stress, pressure, temperature and seismic events for the next 50 years. Professor Kishida Tadahiro of Khalifa University, who was also present, along with Snehal Patel, a foundation engineer of BAPS Canada, are planning to guide students to conduct research on the data collected by the sensors.
Once the raft foundation solidifies, the rest of the foundation features will be completed in different stages. The stone work for the Mandir will be sculpted by highly skilled artisans in India and then shipped to the UAE to be assembled on the site like a complex jigsaw puzzle. Then the temple will slowly start to take form, layer by layer.
Having begun at 6:00 p.m. on 13 February, the concrete pour was completed 20 hours later at 2:00 p.m. on 14 February 2020.