Abu Dhabi Hindu temple to open for prayers on February 10 next year

Marble and pink sandstone temple will be open to public for worship on February 18

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A stunning handcrafted marble and sandstone Hindu temple will open in Abu Dhabi on February 10 for prayers after four years of meticulous work by artisans in India and the UAE.

The National has confirmed that the temple will be inaugurated in a series of prayer ceremonies starting February 10 as part of a 'festival of harmony' next year.

The temple will be open to the public for worship on February 18.

The landmark white marble and pink sandstone structure already draws thousands of people from different faiths and nationalities who pray over and bless bricks used at the temple site in Abu Dhabi’s Abu Mureikha area.

More than 2,000 artisans have carved stunning pillars and columns in India’s Rajasthan state for the last four years for the first hand-sculpted Hindu temple.

At the temple site in Abu Dhabi, construction is underway with the ground level and main prayer hall built.

The second level is being readied for towering shikhars, or spires, to represent each emirate of the UAE.

Details of prayer services

The prayers on February 10 at 6pm will be open only to contributors who have supported the temple's construction.

The next day, February 11 at 10am is for prayers for couples who have contributed to the building of the temple.

Prayers for the statues of Hindu deities will be restricted to invited guests on February 14 between 8am to noon.

A two-hour dedication ceremony will be held on February 15. It will be open to the public and begin at 6pm.

The temple will then be open for worship to the public from February 18 onwards.

Spread over 5.4 hectares, the land was given to the Indian community in 2015 by President Sheikh Mohamed.

People of all nations and faith will be welcome at the temple being built by the Baps Swaminarayan Sanstha, an organisation that has supervised the construction of about 1,200 temples across the world.

Ancient construction techniques

Delicate marble and stone carvings have been fitted on the exterior embedded with stories from the lives of deities to convey messages of peace.

Once completed, the 32-metre high structure will be decorated with more than 200 ornate pillars.

Much like ancient Hindu shrines, the temple has been built without using steel, iron or reinforced concrete.

The layered compression technique involves using granite at the foundation, pink sandstone added as the next layer and finally marble work that lends it structural strength.

"Abu Dhabi will be hosting the biggest celebration of togetherness - the festival of harmony where art is ageless, culture is borderless and values are timeless," said a video on the temple wesbite mandir.ae.

"This will be the opening ceremony of the first traditional Hindu temple in the Middle East - the Baps Hindu mandir (temple) in Abu Dhabi which will be a spiritual oasis for global harmony.

"This festival will be a celebration that will bring the art, values and culture of India to the UAE."

The temple is located off the main E11 Sheikh Zayed motorway connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Millions of handmade clay bricks and a total of 20,000 tonnes of stone have been used with 5,500 tonnes white marble and 14,500 tonnes of pink sandstone.

Channels are being built on the construction site to replicate three Indian rivers with steps for seating that will overlook the structure.

Two parks, a community hall, a visitors' centre, an amphitheatre, food court, majlis, or welcome areas, are also being built.

Updated: July 20, 2023, 7:36 AM