Abu Dhabi’s first traditional Hindu stone temple is going to be a “heaven in the desert” and “an oasis of peace, harmony and inclusiveness”. On Saturday, during the temple’s foundation stone-laying ceremony, Priests and officials gave this statement. For the stone-laying ceremony, ministers and officials from the UAE were a part of it.
On the day of the foundation-stone laying ceremony, one witnessed hundreds of volunteers flying to the UAE. The volunteers helped the devotees with the seating arrangements and other logistics.
The ‘Shilanyas Vidhi’ ritual was presided over by Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, which is the religious and social organization who would be building the temple.
The ceremony kicked off at 9 am on Saturday, witnessed priests and community leaders sitting inside a plot of dug-up land. Sanskrit verses were being chanted as Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami headed the ceremony. They blessed the first stones which became the base of the temple.
Mahant Maharaj joined the ceremony by 10.30am. The laying down of the foundation stone was carried out by priests and BAPS Hindu Mandir committee head and community leader B.R. Shetty between 10.50am and 10.55am. About 50 priests arrived from India in order to be a part of the ceremonies.
Maharaj lauded the cooperation offered by the UAE leadership and noted that “peace comes to those who love peace”. He stated that it’s difficult to think but it’s going to be a heaven in the desert. One can’t buy peace but can have it only if one loves it.
On behalf of the Indian community, he also unveiled a Gift of Gratitude, an intricate piece of artwork comprising a base made of pink sandstone – the stone which is going to be used for building the temple – and metal fins of various sizes forming an image of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The artwork is a gift to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.