The 12-day ‘Festival of Harmony’ celebrating the opening of the historic BAPS Hindu Mandir (temple) commenced with a sacred ceremony presided over by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the present spiritual guru of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

It has been an electrifying atmosphere in Abu Mureikha, off the Abu Dhabi-Dubai Sheikh Zayed highway, since the arrival of Mahant Swami Maharaj on Monday, February 5. On Tuesday and Wednesday, a ‘Guruhari Darshan’ was held, i.e., a ceremony where Mahant Swami Maharaj performed prayers with sadhus and met devotees. The spiritual leader is on a three-week visit for the highly anticipated inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir and to lead the other Vedic ceremonies and programmes till February 21.

On Saturday, the first of several events as part of the ‘Festival of Harmony’ started at the temple. ‘Bhakti Tula’, a sacred ceremony, brought together hundreds of devotees and well-wishers to express their devotion to Lord Swaminarayan, the founder of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

On Sunday, a massive ‘Yagna for Harmony’, a Vedic ritual, will be held outside the temple premises in an open area. Yagna is a Hindu ritual done in front of a sacred fire with chanting of mantras. The ‘Swaminarayan Vishwa Samvadita Mahayagna’ will see the participation of a few hundred spiritual people and couples.

On Wednesday morning, ‘Murti Pratishtha’, the consecration ceremony of deities will be performed by Mahant Swami Maharaj. By evening, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will officially open the Middle East’s first traditional Hindu stone temple.

Thereafter, the festival will be marked with different themes until February 21, including harmony, civilisation, peace, gratitude, values, and inspiration.

The BAPS management has requested the general public to visit the temple from March. Entry is by prior registrations done through the official website or ‘Festival of Harmony’ app.

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