Hindu Mandir: Landmark Baps temple inaugurated by India PM Modi

Thousands of worshippers witnessed the inauguration in Abu Dhabi

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Baps Hindu Mandir on Wednesday, ahead of its public opening on Sunday.

Celebrating a landmark moment of interfaith harmony in the Emirates, Mr Modi arrived for the dedicated ceremony shortly after 4pm and formally inaugurated the temple shortly after 8pm, dedicating it to "you and the world".

He was given a guided tour of the place of worship by priests from the Baps Swaminarayan Sanstha, who showed him the site granted in 2015 by President Sheikh Mohamed, who was Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi at the time.

A grand and impressive temple is ready
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

As thousands of worshippers watched, Mr Modi added water from Indian rivers Ganga and Yamuna into the waterways that frame the temple and, accompanied by Hindu priests including Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of Baps, recited prayers.

Narendra Modi opens the biggest Hindu temple in UAE - video

Narendra Modi opens the biggest Hindu temple in UAE

Narendra Modi opens the biggest Hindu temple in UAE

"The UAE has, in history, written a new chapter," he said, addressing the temple community hall. "Today in Abu Dhabi, a grand and impressive temple is ready."

It took years of work and there were years of dreams behind the building of the temple, the Prime Minister said.

"No praise will be enough to thank the UAE government in the building of this temple," Mr Modi added.

“But the biggest support and the most help was given by my brother Sheikh Mohamed. The President of the UAE, with his large heart, has fulfilled the dreams of millions of Indians. He has won the hearts of 1.4 billion Indians with this temple."

The UAE's first traditional hand-carved Hindu temple is located in the Abu Mureikha area of Abu Dhabi, off the main motorway between the capital and Dubai.

The temple will be open to the public from February 18 but authorities have asked UAE residents to visit from March 1 due to thousands of overseas visitors travelling to the Emirates to view the temple.

From Thursday until next Wednesday, a week-long celebration will begin at the site, with prayers and talks on harmony and peace.

Visitors must register on the temple website at www.mandir.ae to attend.

It came as Mr Modi took to the stage on the final day of the World Governments Summit in Dubai on Wednesday.

Speaking at the event in Madinat Jumeirah, he called for a “global protocol” to deal with artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency.

He also said India has bucked a global trend by boosting public confidence in its government.

"We often hear experts say that after the Covid pandemic, people have less faith in their governments," he said. "But in India we have had exactly the opposite experience in the last few years. The confidence people have in the Indian government has increased."

Updated: February 15, 2024, 7:20 AM