Mahant Swami Maharaj reaches Abu Dhabi for inauguration of UAE’s first Hindu temple
NEW DELHI — Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual guru of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, reached Abu Dhabi on Tuesday for the grand inauguration of the first Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The spiritual leader will preside over the historic inauguration of the first Hindu temple in the Gulf nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the temple on February 14, days after the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ of the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
Mahant Swami Maharaj was received as a state guest by UAE Minister of Tolerance, Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan.
Extending warm welcome to the spiritual guru, the minister said, “Welcome to the UAE. Our nation is blessed with your presence. We are touched by your kindness and we feel your prayers.”
As the BAPS spiritual guru arrived in Abu Dhabi, a large number of Swaminarayan Sanstha members and devotees also turned up to greet him.
Prime Minister Modi is set to inaugurate the temple on February 14 in the presence of saints, swamis and thousands of devotees. A wave of religious fervour and festive atmosphere has already set in, with thousands of devotees visiting the large complex.
Modi is also set to address the Indian diaspora at the grandiose Sheikh Zayed Sports Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The event titled ‘Ahlan Modi’ is likely to see the presence of more than 50,000 people.
‘Ahlan Modi’, which means ‘Hello Modi’, is being billed as the ‘largest community reception to Prime Minister’ on foreign soil.
Notably, the BAPS Mandir is the first Hindu temple constructed in the Middle East. Ever since the construction work began in 2019, it drew attention and interest of the Hindu community from across the world.
Situated in the Abu Mureikhah area, the majestic complex will reflect the spirit of Indian culture and will also be a testament to the growing friendship between India and the UAE.
The foundation stone for the temple was laid on April 20, 2019. Lots of volunteers from the Hindu community participated in the construction of the state-of-the art complex, made using white marble and limestone only.
For the unversed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had donated 13.5 acres of land in 2015 for the construction of the temple.