Watch: foundation of Abu Dhabi’s Hindu temple nears completion

Preparations under way to place pink sandstone pillars that will be brought from India

The foundation of the Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi will be completed by next month.

It will prepare the structure for pink sandstone carvings that will be installed in May.

Construction is well under way on the Abu Mureikha site where workers use cutters to splice large slabs to complete the base of the structure.

Two underground tunnels are being built by the crew with stones  imported from India.

The outer structure of the UAE's first traditional Hindu temple will begin to take shape over the next few months as work gathers pace.

The shrine, which has seven spires to represent each emirate, will be the largest place in the country for people of all faiths to learn about Indian culture and the Hindu religion when it opens in 2023.

In a video update on the construction work, the team said preparation was on target to place the first carved stone next month.

Building work is currently 4.5 metres above ground level in the footage released by Baps Swaminarayan Sanstha, the organisation building the temple.

“I feel very blessed to be a part of this project,” said Ashok Kondeti, project engineer, monitoring the quality and progress of the temple.

"Since January we have poured 4,500 cubic metres [of concrete].

“We can complete total foundation work by April so we can have the actual stone work by May.”

There was no need to import sand because material on site was used to fill the trenches and for the foundation.

As per the architectural plans, there will be two small waterfalls on either side of the stairways.

The stairs will lead into the marble-lined halls of the temple and a water channel will form a ring around the building.

The designs demarcate place for an amphitheatre, prayer halls, library, community centre, play area for children, parks, visitor centre and food court n the 10.9-hectare site.

More than 2,000 craftsmen in India’s north-west Rajasthan state are chiselling delicate marble and stone sculptures on columns that will be fitted together on the Abu Dhabi site.

The intricate carvings depict stories from ancient Hindu scriptures. The sculptures pay homage to deities, capture dancers and musicians playing traditional instruments and show men in ceremonial gear astride horses and elephants.

The temple will welcome people of all faiths. Organisers described it as a spiritual oasis that will reflect the inclusive character of the Emirates.

The land was gifted to the Indian community by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Baps, the organisation responsible for building 1,200 shrines around the world, including in the US, UK and Australia, said the community areas would engage visitors and host discussions on values, peace and harmony.

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