BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, marked a significant milestone with the ‘Mahapeeth Pujan Vidhi’ – laying the first carved stones of the first floor of the mandir. Thus far, 14 layers of stones comprising the foundation and the ground floor have been completed and this ceremony marked the start of the next stage of construction. 
Akshaymunidas Swami and Brahmaviharidas Swami performed the Vedic ceremony, along with the Ambassador of India to the UAE His Excellency Sunjay Sudhir, community leaders, members of the congregation and over 500 distinguished guests from across the UAE. The excitement of the architects, technical consultants, community officials and volunteers who attended this event was palpable.
The construction of the first floor of the mandir is an important feature as it will shape the ‘mandovar' and 'garbhagruha’ (inner sanctum).
The ‘mahapeeth’ stones, were carved by artisans in Rajasthan and consecrated by HH Mahant Swami Maharaj in India before being transported for the ceremony in Abu Dhabi. In this Vedic ceremony, swamis recited Sanskrit verses as prayers for the successful and timely completion of the mandir, which will be open to people of all faiths.
In his address following the ceremony, Brahmaviharidas Swami stressed, "In addition to laying the stones for a mandir, each individual must lay a strong foundation of spirituality in his or her life to achieve lasting peace and happiness. This mandir does not belong to the people who build it, but rather to the people who visit it, cherish it and use it to transform their lives.”
Ambassador of India to the UAE, His Excellency Sunjay Sudhir said “Today is a historic day for us to be a part of. This temple is a symbol of love, harmony and speaks to the generosity of UAE’s Rulers. The stories etched in stone by the artisans and architects will inspire everyone who visits the mandir. The mandir is an exemplary example of the commitment of the leaders of UAE and India towards building an environment of peace and tolerance and ensuring that all residents of this country feel at home.”
A medical camp, in collaboration with Aster Hospital was also held on site, providing free medical check-up and treatment to hundreds of workers and visitors.

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