The construction of the Middle East’s first traditional Hindu stone temple has been a long journey filled with major milestones and cherished moments.

Ever since the laying of the foundation stone five years back, there has been no stopping the making of this architectural splendour in Abu Mureikhah. Here’s a selection of the BAPS Hindu mandir’s (temple) timeline as the temple gets inaugurated in Abu Dhabi this evening.

April 5, 1997: Pramukh Swami Maharaj prayed and wished for a temple in the UAE capital, in the middle of a desert in Sharjah. “May there be a Mandir (temple) in Abu Dhabi, which will bring countries, cultures, communities and religions closer together,” he said.

August 9, 2015: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the UAE has decided to allot a plot of land for building a Hindu temple. PM Modi thanked the UAE Government for the gesture. It was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Emirates in 34 years.

February 10, 2018: BAPS representatives met His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and visiting Indian PM Modi at the Presidential Palace. Presented with two designs, Sheikh Mohamed chose a grand traditional stone temple over a normal building of worship. Sheikh Mohamed generously gifted land to build the temple and a cultural complex.

February 11, 2018: Indian PM Narendra Modi officially launched the BAPS Hindu Mandir project and addressed the Indian community at Dubai Opera. A Hindu ritual of ‘Bhoomi Poojan’, paying respect to the Earth, was performed at the temple site in Abu Mureikhah before the beginning of the construction.

April 20, 2019: The ‘Shilanyas Vidhi’, the Vedic ceremony of laying the foundation stone was performed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj with the participation of top Emirati ministers and government officials, and thousands of devotees in attendance.

December 14, 2019: The much-awaited construction of the BAPS Hindu Mandir began with the blessings of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj.

October 1, 2021: A majestic 3D model of the temple was exhibited in the India Pavilion during the Expo 2020 Dubai. It was admired by everyone and enabled visitors to understand the remarkable designs and visualise the architectural marvel in Abu Dhabi.

November 9, 2021: The ‘Pratham Shila Sthaapan Saptah’ – a week-long ceremony was held at the temple to sanctify the bricks being used for the construction. More than 1,000 devotees, volunteers, and well-wishers participated in the special ceremony.

May 27, 2022: The ‘Mahapeeth Pujan Vidhi’ – a ceremony to place the first carved sandstone on the temple's first floor was performed. It marked the next stage of construction after the works on the ground floor consisting of 14 layers had been completed.

September 8, 2022: Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and Pujya Brahmaviharidas Swami led 500 devotees, well-wishers, and construction professionals in a special ceremony to bless the first marble pillars of the temple.

October 20, 2023: Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami with Pujya Brahmaviharidas Swami went up in a crane-lifted box to perform the ritual to bless the seven spires, each representing an Emirate of the UAE.

November 29, 2023: On November 11, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj performed the Vedic rituals of the ‘Amrut Kalashes’, flags, and flagstaffs for the spires. Subsequently, on November 29, the sanctified ‘kalashes’ were positioned atop the spires.

February 14, 2024: The major milestone and highly awaited inauguration of the temple with a colourful ‘Festival of Harmony’ and vibrant events bringing together communities and spreading messages of love, peace, and harmony.

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