Photo Essay: An Indian wedding in Dubai’s Hindu temple

Many couples are choosing a traditional ceremony in the UAE instead of going back to their home country

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The Hindu temple in Jebel Ali is being picked as a wedding venue of choice by Indian couples in the UAE.

Instead of returning to their home country for the wedding, many couples who have lived in the Emirates for years are selecting the stark white temple with golden spires to tie the knot.

Iswarya Sundararajan and Arvindh Selvam, from southern India’s Tamil Nadu state, are among 18 couples who exchanged garlands since wedding ceremonies began in the temple from January this year.

“It was quite special to have the wedding inside a temple because most people we know have travelled back to India for their marriage,” said Ms Sundararajan, who works in the hospitality industry in Dubai.

It was good to have a celebration that we both could enjoy in Dubai
Iswarya Sundararajan, Indian bride

Couples customarily visit temples in India after they marry in a hall that is booked for the ceremonies.

For the Sundararajan and Selvam families, the event was doubly special as the rituals were conducted in the temple.

“We have elders who said they could feel extra special blessings from god for us so this made everything even more perfect,” the 27-year-old said.

Close knit affair

About 60 relatives and friends were invited to be part of the festivities.

A priest recited verses from the holy scriptures and also translated this into English and Tamil so guests could understand the rituals.

Iswarya Sundararajan and Arvindh Selvam listen as the priest explains the rituals during their wedding ceremony at the Hindu temple in Jebel Ali, Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Weddings in India are usually mega events with hundreds of people invited.

The numbers at the Dubai temple for weddings is capped at about 150 people by the temple organisers to safely manage movement of crowds.

“In India for sure it would have been bigger numbers because we both have large families,” Ms Sundararajan said.

“But it was good to have an intimate celebration that we both could enjoy in Dubai.”

The Hindu temple in Dubai has a kitchen that prepares an extensive vegetarian menu and caters to specific requests for snacks, lunch meals with curry, rice and popular Indian sweets.

The temple opened to the public in October and is the latest addition to the places of religious worship in the Emirates.

Run by Dubai’s Sindhi Guru temple trust, the temple with nine brass spires and lattice screens weaves in Hindu designs with Arabic architecture.

It welcomes all faiths and its community halls can be booked for special occasions such as weddings.

The temple is open seven days a week from 6am until 8.30pm.

Updated: September 08, 2023, 6:10 PM