His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, His Excellency Mohamed Al Balooshi and senior officials of the DCD, were given a traditional welcome to the BAPS Hindu Mandir. Their visit commenced with a comprehensive presentation by swamis and volunteers outlining the progress of the Mandir. Before proceeding to the Mandir site, His Excellency and Swami Brahmaviharidas jointly showered petals upon the bricks placed by people from around the globe, honoring their prayers for peace and harmony.
On the Mandir site, His Excellency and his delegation first visited the waterfall feature, representing the source of the holy Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers; from here, the three rivers diverge to gently embrace the Mandir. They then visited the eco-friendly shoe houses, which can accommodate up to 2,000 pairs of shoes. Thereafter, they stopped at the location of the ‘Orchard’, the sattvic food court, where the benches, tables, and chairs have been made using the wooden pallets used to transport the stones and which would normally be discarded. This innovative repurposing of the wood benefits the environment.
Guiding His Excellency to the Mandir’s grand entrance, Swami Brahmaviharidas revealed a distinctive water feature that gracefully rises upwards against the falling water, symbolizing the essence of life and its spiritual journey – a constant effort to rise amidst obstacles and challenges seeking to pull one down.
On the first floor of the Mandir, His Excellency was shown the Ghat (Amphitheater). Here, visitors can enjoy darshan of the Mandir, the holy rivers, and rest and reflect on their visit. Ascending the steps to the Mandir, His Excellency marveled at the intricate carvings that adorned the façade of the Mandir, including animals native to the UAE – camels, oryxes and falcons. Proceeding to the Mandir’s right side, His Excellency viewed the carved depictions of 14 value tales selected from Arabian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Aztec and Indian civilizations.
Observing the detailed carvings of the Ramayan depicted on the outside of the spire that will house Bhagwan Shri Ram, His Excellency joyously expressed, “This Mandir is really beyond my expectations… it is really a masterpiece of art.” Notably, each of the seven spires will feature carvings narrating the entire life story of the respective deity.
The delegation then proceeded to the first dome, known as the ‘Dome of Harmony’. Here, a captivating symbolism unfolds across five layers. The first layer depicts carvings of serene cows, embodying the essence of Earth. The next layer of intricate carvings of oceans and seashells artfully captures the spirit of Water. Moving upwards, the third layer showcases the sun in its 12 distinct forms, embodying the element of Fire. Above that, graceful carvings of deer leaping through the clouds represent the element of Air. Finally, a celestial panorama of stars, galaxies and the moon grace the apex, symbolizing the encompassing ether, or Space, that unites us all.
Here, Swami Brahmaviharidas introduced His Excellency to the BAPS volunteers who are working on the interior of the Mandir. Moving forward, His Excellency was delighted to see the ‘pillar of pillars’ – a pillar adorned with 1,400 meticulously carved smaller pillars, each displaying symmetry and beauty.
Finally, he advanced to the central shrine where the murtis of Shri Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj will be consecrated. Here, the marble pillars narrate incidents from Bhagwan Swaminarayan's life, each filled with profound values.
Before leaving the site, His Excellency said:
“This Mandir is really beyond my expectations, I have seen today the effort that has been put in by the swamis and volunteers; this is a masterpiece of art.”
“This Mandir gives you the feeling of harmony and peace.”
“This is a great addition to our country.”
“This is a place of worship where everyone from the UAE will come. Soon, we will celebrate the opening together.”
“I would like to thank all the people who are part of this great project.”