Prime Minister (PM) Narender Modi recently inaugurated the BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Abu Dhabi, the first Hindu temple to be built in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

About BAPS Temple: Key features:

• The temple was constructed by the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), which is a denomination of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, a Vaishnav sect of Hinduism.

• Size and Construction: 108 ft tall, 262 ft long, 180 ft wide, covering 27 acres.

• External Facade: Pink sandstone from Rajasthan, Italian marble for the interior.

• Architectural Design: Traditional stone Hindu temple with seven shikharas.

  • Each shikhara narrates the tales from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Shiva Purana, and Bhagavatam.
  • Also, each shikhara is adorned with depictions of deities such as Ayyappa, Jagannath, Swaminarayan, and Venkateshwara.

Spiritual river:

  • ‘holy river’ surrounds the temple having waters from the Ganga and Yamuna brought into it.
  • Also, the ‘Saraswati’ river is depicted in the form of white light. A ‘Varanasi-ghat’ has been created where Ganga passes.

• Bells: There are around 96 bells which are installed around the path of the temple which signifies the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’ (96 years of age).

• It features two central domes viz. the Dome of Harmony and the Dome of Peace.

• A Wall of Harmony, one of the largest 3D-printed walls in the UAE. The word ‘harmony’ has been written in 30 different ancient and modern languages.

• There is a special pillar, called the ‘Pillar of Pillars’, which has around 1,400 small pillars carved into it.

About Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS):

  • The organization is named after Bhagwan Swaminarayan (a religious leader) and was established by Shastriji Maharaj in 1907.
  • It is a socio-spiritual Hindu faith with its roots in the Vedas and was pioneered by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the late 18th century.
  • The Akshardham temples in Delhi and Gujarat are managed by BAPS.

Recognition: The temple received accolades such as the Best Mechanical Project of the Year 2019 and the Best Interior Design Concept of the Year 2020 for its architectural excellence and innovative design.

Leadership Involvement: 

  • Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, played a significant role in facilitating the construction of the temple and was also the chief guest at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024, demonstrating the strong ties between the UAE and India.

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