Baps Hindu Mandir to launch online booking after surge in visitors

Thousands flocked to the temple in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday with visitor numbers expected to increase during holiday period

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The Baps Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi is to introduce an online visitor registration system to meet "astronomical" demand after thousands of people arrived at the temple on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi Police helped to manage traffic flow as the site drew huge crowds seeking to celebrate the festival of Ugadi, the equivalent of New Year's Day in the Hindu calendar.

The religious festival also coincided with a public holiday for workers in the Emirates to mark Eid Al Fitr.

Organisers are expecting visitor numbers to increase further during a busy holiday period.

"With the beginning of the festive holidays, large numbers of devotees and visitors made their way to visit the Baps Hindu Mandir," a temple spokesman said.

"Over 60,000 had already entered the parking area by late evening, with more waiting patiently in lines. The Mandir remained operational throughout the day and welcomed one and all.

"With the effective assistance of the Abu Dhabi Police and officials, the huge flow of people was managed from the roundabout on Al Taf Road to the mandir entrance.

The Baps Hindu Mandir - in pictures

"Visitors patiently queued and waited to enter in batches as multiple lines were formed for families and elderlies, as per the guidance of the Baps Hindu Mandir staff and volunteers."

One video on social media showed long queues forming at the temple on Tuesday morning.

Book in advance

The temple said a registration booking portal would be launched imminently. The system was still being set up as of Tuesday.

"Since the grand opening of Baps Hindu Mandir, the number of visitors have significantly grown," a temple spokesman said.

"The daily numbers have been consistently growing and are astronomical on weekends and special days."

Visitor attraction

When the Baps Hindu temple formally opened on February 14, people began queuing almost immediately to enter the structure made from hand-carved stone and marble.

About 65,000 people turned out at the temple on the first Sunday, March 3, that the shrine opened its doors to the public, weeks after its inauguration by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Now, 30,000 people on average visit the complex every Sunday, with weekend waiting times often stretching to 90 minutes, temple authorities said.

April festivals

April is a busy month in the Hindu calendar with celebrations around Hindu new year and for the spring festival marked by traditional prayers across Indian states.

Hindus are also expected to converge in large numbers to celebrate the Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti festivals – marking the birth of two Indian gods Rama and Hanuman this month.

Elaborate carvings of both deities are an integral part of the Baps Mandir.

To manage the weekend crowds, Abu Dhabi's transport authority last month introduced a new bus service, which takes visitors from the city's bus station to the temple.

At the weekends, the 201 bus route has been replaced by 203 to cope with the Saturday-Sunday traffic to the temple.

Temple officials were already predicting higher numbers while maintaining a festive atmosphere for the coming events.

“To ensure that everyone enjoys a wonderful experience, we have increased the number of volunteers and enlisted the support of the local police,” a spokesman previously told The National.

“We collaborate closely with local authorities to manage the influx of visitors effectively. By working together, we ensure that the crowds are managed efficiently and that everyone can safely experience the mandir without overcrowding."

Updated: May 08, 2024, 8:49 AM