Hundreds of craftsmen in India are chiselling marble and stone slabs for Abu Dhabi’s new Hindu temple.
The Baps Swaminarayan Sanstha, the organisation building the temple, released video footage on Friday showing the artisans carefully sculpting figures of Hindu deities on to sandstone pillars.
About 2,000 sculptors are working in Rajasthan, north-west India, using picks and hammers to deftly carve blocks of stone.
The men meticulously draw elaborate scenes from ancient Hindu scriptures on sections of white marble and pink sandstone.
They then sculpt small models of trees, peacocks, camels and horses to depict the stories.
The Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi is scheduled to be ready by 2022 and will welcome people of all faiths from all over the world.
Work to prepare the foundation and level the ground is being carried out in the Abu Mureikha area off Sheikh Zayed road connecting Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Stone work has continued in India while observing safety precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.
In line with traditional architecture, workers will attach the columns and the temple will not use iron or steel reinforcements in its construction.
The carvings will be shipped to the UAE this year.
Final drawings of the complex show a water border encircling the shrine with small waterfalls on either side of the steps leading up to the building.
Gardens, play areas, a library, community centres and an amphitheatre are also planned.
Baps priests said the seven spires represent the seven emirates and the temple will be a symbol of the UAE's tradition of inclusion and tolerance of all religions and cultures.
Swami Brahmavihari, a priest handling international affairs, has often thanked the UAE's leaders for their support in the project and gifting land to the community.
The temple is being built on 4.5 hectares of land granted by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
It will be the first traditional Hindu stone temple in the country.