Abu Dhabi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar – who is on a three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates – on Wednesday visited a Hindu temple under construction in Abu Dhabi. The minister expressed his happiness to see ‘rapid progress’ and appreciated the team’s dedication in making it possible to build what is said to be the first traditional temple in the Arabian peninsula.
“On Ganesh Chaturthi, blessed to visit the @BAPS Hindu temple under construction in Abu Dhabi. Glad to see the rapid progress and deeply appreciate the devotion of all involved. Met the BAPS team, community supporters and devotees and workers at the site,” the minister tweeted on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi and shared pictures of his visit.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha – a global not-for-profit Hindu organisation – is building the temple, for which land was given by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, after Narendra Modi’s first visit to the UAE as Prime Minister of India in 2015.
Dr. S. Jaishankar Appreciates BAPS Hindu Mandir and Its Contributors:
On the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi, Honourable Dr. S. Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister of India visited the BAPS Hindu Mandir site in Abu Dhabi yesterday. He was accompanied by an esteemed delegation of senior officials from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs including the Foreign Secretary Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Ambassador Sanjay Sudhir, Joint Secretary Shri Vipul and Consul General Dr. Aman Puri.
The Hon. Minister made the visit a priority stop on his official visit to the United Arab Emirates to chair the 14th India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting and the India-UAE Strategic Dialogue with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Unperturbed by the searing afternoon sun, the Ministerial delegation made the mandir their first stop on their agenda; arriving at the under-construction complex at 2:00pm.
Swami Brahmaviharidas welcomed the Hon. Minister and the delegation and led them to the Rivers of Harmony exhibition. The exhibition presents the origin of the mandir – a prayer for peace and harmony by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, as well as the universal call for tolerance and unity shared by thinkers across time. In recent years, under the visionary leadership of HRH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India and the UAE have taken great strides towards the path of human fraternity – a key feature of which is the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi. It was a great happening of fate that the Hon. Minister was able to appreciate the words of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj at the United Nations Millenium Peace Summit exactly 22 years to the day of the conclusion of that Summit.
Appreciative of the mandir’s harmonious design and diverse construction team, Dr. Jaishankar also shared his gratitude for the mandir and the Sanstha’s role in community service as well as special services during COVID 19 and the Ukraine Crisis.
Thereafter, the delegation joined a small gathering of creators and contributors who were at the heart of the mandir project. Here, the gathering was first shown a video presentation of the ‘History of Harmony’ on how this mandir project has come to fruition. The video became an opportunity to reflect on the monumental moment in history we are living through and also to appreciate members of the present delegation who have played key roles in making that history.
Later, Hon. Minister and the delegation performed Ganesh puja and a puja of the bricks to be placed on the mandir plinth that day. In this way, the delegation was joining more than 16,000 people who decided to ‘Give Harmony A Hand’ by placing bricks by their own hands in the construction of the mandir.
Swami Brahmaviharidas then asked the Hon. Minister to the stage and thanked him for his support for this project but also for the heights to which the Minister has taken the reputation of India by his service by gifting him a Golden Spire of Harmony.
Continuing that appreciation, the Hon. Minister personally met and congratulated contributors who represented the thousands who were giving with their hearts to make this miracle in the dessert. The esteemed present including Ashok Kotecha, Yogesh Mehta, Keyur Nagori, Siddarth Balachandran, Naresh Bhawnani, Chirayu Patel, Dipen Patel, Rohit Gupta, Vijay Karia, Balkishenji, Atul and Arvind Mittal, Faizal Kottikollon, Manish Patel, Nilesh Ved, Yuvraj Narayan, Nishanth Pitti, Keval Singh Sahni, Suresh Patel, Balaskandanji, Mohan Das Saini, Ullas Shukla and Sagoon Patel.
Keenly interested in witnessing the making of the mandir, the Minister next took on the midday heat to visit the mandir site. Climbing 5 meters to the mandir’s plinth, the Hon. Minister first placed a brick on the mandir surrounded by the chanting of the Shantipaath.