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Diplomats from across globe hosted for special tour of BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi

Diplomats hosted for special tour of BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi (Source: X/IndembAbuDhabi)

Indian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sunjay Sudhir on Tuesday hosted diplomats from across the globe for a special tour of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi.

The envoys were impressed by the temple’s unique architecture, intricate motifs and its message of unity, peace and harmony.

“Less than a month to go for the inauguration of the @AbuDhabiMandir @BAPS, Amb @sunjaysudhir hosted diplomatic corps from across the globe for a special tour of the temple. Envoys were awed by its unique architecture, intricate motifs and its message of unity, peace & harmony,” as per the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi’s official handle on ‘X’.

At the invitation of the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Sunjay Sudhir, representatives from 42 nations on Tuesday convened at the 27-acre construction site of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, as per a release issued by the BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi.

The temple visit served to foster intercultural understanding, goodwill and respect while providing the guests an opportunity to witness the ongoing progress of the Middle East’s inaugural traditional Hindu temple, symbolising the universal principles of tolerance and harmony.

Among those who visited the site were ambassadors and senior diplomats from Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chad, Chile, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, the European Union, Fiji, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, the UAE, the UK, the US, Zimbabwe and Zambia, as per the official release.

Over 60 dignitaries were welcomed with garlands and greeted with the traditional tying of a sacred thread, marking the significance of their presence.

Ambassador Sudhir in a brief welcome address, thanked the distinguished guests for attending and shared his excitement at the Mandir nearing completion. “It seemed impossible, but the dream has truly become a reality.”

Head of the BAPS Hindu Mandir project Swami Brahmaviharidas, in his keynote address, provided a succinct overview of the Mandir’s historical significance, construction process, and global impact. He also expressed gratitude to both the UAE and Indian leadership, emphasising the Mandir’s role as a powerful agent of interfaith and intercultural harmony.

Nepal’s Ambassador to the UAE, Tej Bahadur Chhetri, called the Mandir a “tirthbhumi (place of pilgrimage)”, adding: “It is an inspiring building that teaches us about love, harmony and tolerance. It is something that we will gift to our future generations. Mahant Swami Maharaj is a great sadhu. Because of him, people were inspired to build this mandir, and it is a huge success”, as per the release.

Canadian Ambassador to UAE Radha Krishna Panday, shared, “Dedication to quality, the artistry, the thought that went into the choice of images to celebrate the diversity and harmony of human nature is all very striking and most appealing.”

Thailand Ambassador Sorayut Chasombat stated, “This is one of the best experiences I have had in the UAE. I have seen [the Mandir] from the start to now near the finish, and I have to say it is the symbol of harmony that will stand the test of time for thousands of years into the future. I wish to express my gratitude to the leadership of the UAE, the leadership of India, and [Mahant] Swamiji for bringing forward this big project for humanity.”

To commemorate their visit, each guest was presented with a beautiful stone hand-painted by children featuring an image of the Mandir.

The ambassadors’ visit was a significant step in promoting peace, fostering cultural interaction, and strengthening diplomatic ties between the participating countries and the UAE, as per the release.

As construction of the religious campus nears completion, Mahant Swami Maharaj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are scheduled to inaugurate the temple on February 14, 2024.

PM Modi recently accepted the invitation extended by Swami Ishwarcharandas and Swami Brahmaviharidas, along with the board of directors for the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi on February 14, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha said in a press statement.

In December, PM Modi and the BAPS Swami Ishwarcharandas met at the Prime Minister’s residential office and PM Modi graciously accepted the invitation, expressing his enthusiastic support for the historic and iconic temple.

Swami Ishwarcharandas honoured the Prime Minister by adorning him with a garland and draping a saffron shawl over his shoulders, acknowledging his significant contributions to our nation and the world.

PM Modi was specially commended for the remarkable renovation and development of pilgrimage sites across India, a feat unparalleled in recent centuries, said the press statement.

During the meeting, the discussions revolved around the Abu Dhabi temple’s significance for global harmony and Modi’s vision for India’s spiritual leadership on the global stage.

The release read, “The BAPS delegation prayed for the Prime Minister’s health and acknowledged his exceptional global achievements, notably strengthening relationships with the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries. They also discussed the pride and inspiration Modi’s leadership has instilled in Indians worldwide.”