Historic Inauguration of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi

HH Mahant Swami Maharaj in the presence of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and UAE Minister of Tolerance HE Sheikh Nahayaninaugurated BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi

The iconic new BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi was inaugurated on 14 February by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj in the presence of the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and the eminent Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence for the UAE, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan.

The new Mandir, constructed on land generously gifted by the UAE president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was guided and inspired by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a global Hindu fellowship.

The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi is the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the Middle East, and stands as a testament to the enduring friendship between India and the UAE, embodying the spirit of cultural inclusivity, interfaith harmony, and community collaboration. 

After arriving at the Mandir, Prime Minister Modi was warmly welcomed by community members from across India and the UAE as well as religious leaders from diverse faith communities. 

During an extensive interactive tour of the temple campus, Prime Minister Modi learned about some of the inspiring features of the Mandir that promote universal compassion, respect, charity, and learning.

Inside the Mandir, upon seeing His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the Prime Minister bowed respectfully to the global Hindu leader, before participating in a short Vedic ceremony paying homage to the seven Hindu deities enshrined under the seven spires of the Mandir, themselves reflecting the unity of the seven emirates of the UAE. 

His Holiness and Mr Modi then conducted the first grand arti (ceremony of light) of the deities – which was simultaneously performed by thousands at BAPS temples and homes across the world, with millions more watching online through the live webcast.

After meeting volunteers, children, artisans and others from all over the world who have supported the construction of this magnificent temple, Prime Minister Modi carved ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’ into a piece of stone. The message of ‘the world is one family’ has been the foundational principle of the Mandir, guided by the life and work of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj.

Prime Minister Modi then arrived in the assembly where thousands had gathered to celebrate the opening of the Mandir.

In his keynote address, Prime Minister Modi said: “Today, the UAE has written a golden chapter in the history of humanity through this Mandir.”

“The BAPS Hindu Mandir is for all of humanity. So I have every faith that the Mandir will usher in a new age of faith and hope, bringing the whole world together in harmony and collaboration.”

“The magnificent Mandir that we see today in Abu Dhabi is because it was first envisioned years ago [in 1997] by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Today, Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s heart will be glowing with joy at its fruition.”

“We must also thank my brother Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan [the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi], because it is his generosity that has made possible a mandir so beautiful and magnificent. On behalf of all Indians, I thank Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and the UAE Government.”

The Prime Minister then requested a standing ovation from the audience as an expression of heartfelt gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In his blessings, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj emphasised the importance of the new Mandir as “an abode of love, peace and harmony.” He then explained, “Harmony can be achieved when we do not expect harmony from others, but instead when we strive for harmony ourselves. For that, we must ask ourselves: ‘What can I do, what can I say, and what can I think to nourish harmony?’”

His Holiness then added, “Harmony is the power of God, and humility is the way of God. With this understanding, we can serve humanity.”

He went on to pray for the prosperity, progress, and peace of the UAE, India, and the world.

Sharing his sentiments on this momentous occasion, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan first thanked Prime Minister Modi for visiting the UAE. “We are proud to welcome a great friend from a great and friendly country.” 

The Tolerance and Coexistence Minister also thanked His Holiness for building the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi. He said, “Today marks the beginning of something special. The new Mandir will be a place of worship and also a community centre.” He concluded, “I share in your optimism. I share in your pride.”

In his address earlier in the assembly, BrahmaviharidasSwami, who has been leading the Mandir project from conception to completion, also thanked the generosity of the UAE leadership and the leadership of Mr Modi, and applauded the friendship between the two that helped make the Mandir possible.

In the morning, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj performed the Vedic consecration ceremony that ritually infused the sacred images with the divine presence of God.

Together, the consecration ceremony and dedication assembly formally opened the BAPS Hindu Mandir to the world as a gift to generations, to nations, and to the future.

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