A masterpiece in marble and pink sandstone, Abu Dhabi‘s first traditional Hindu temple will open its doors for prayers on 10th February after four years of tireless effort by artisans from both India and the UAE.
Confirming the temple’s inauguration, The National reports that a series of prayer ceremonies, part of a ‘festival of harmony’, will commence from 10 February 2024, leading up to the temple’s public opening for worship on 18 February.
Drawing individuals of various faiths and nationalities, the impressive white marble and pink sandstone edifice in Abu Dhabi’s Abu Mureikha area has already become a significant landmark. Over 2,000 craftsmen have been working diligently in India’s Rajasthan state, carving exquisite pillars and columns for this first-ever hand-sculpted Hindu temple in the Middle East.
On site in Abu Dhabi, the temple’s main prayer hall and ground level are nearly complete, with plans to erect towering shikhars, or spires, symbolic of each Emirati state, on the second level.
As per the schedule of inaugural prayer services, the 6pm ceremony on 10 February will exclusively welcome contributors to the temple’s construction. The following day, a 10am service will host prayers for couples who have supported the building project. A restricted prayer session for Hindu deities will take place on 14 February, from 8am to noon, catering solely to invited guests.
The temple doors will then open to the public for a two-hour dedication ceremony on 15 February, starting at 6pm. From 18 February onwards, the temple will be open for public worship.
President Sheikh Mohamed gifted the 5.4-hectare site to the Indian community in 2015. Supervised by the Baps Swaminarayan Sanstha, the temple’s construction welcomes all faiths and nationalities. The organisation has overseen the creation of roughly 1,200 temples globally.
In homage to ancient Hindu shrines, the temple has been constructed without the use of steel, iron, or reinforced concrete, instead opting for a layered compression technique involving granite, pink sandstone, and marble.
The completed temple, standing 32-metres high, will be adorned with over 200 intricate pillars and intricate exterior carvings depicting the lives of deities, promoting peace. A total of 20,000 tonnes of stone, including 5,500 tonnes of white marble and 14,500 tonnes of pink sandstone, have been used in the construction.
A temple spokesperson declared that Abu Dhabi would host “the biggest celebration of togetherness – the festival of harmony” on the temple’s website, mandir.ae. The celebration aims to highlight timeless art, borderless culture, and ageless values, marking the inauguration of this spiritual oasis for global harmony.
The temple, situated just off the main E11 Sheikh Zayed motorway connecting Abu Dhabi and Dubai, will feature an array of facilities. These include two parks, a community hall, a visitors’ centre, an amphitheatre, a food court, and welcoming areas, all crafted with a focus on fostering unity and harmony. Additionally, channels replicating three Indian rivers and seating areas overlooking the temple structure are being constructed.