Dubai - The UAE, a host nation of more than 200 nationalities living in peace and mutual respect, is an incubator of the values of tolerance, peace, security and multiculturalism.

The laws of UAE guarantee justice, respect and equality to all religions and in fact, the values of tolerance, coexistence among races, and respect to different beliefs and religions are deeply rooted in the history of the UAE. A testimony to this fact is the growing number of religious establishments in the country for people of different faiths.

Within this great nation, the multicultural city of Dubai hosts expats from over 200 nations from across the globe. This is what makes the city a unique place to live and work in harmony. The Indian diaspora has played a significant role in the success of the UAE since they first came here in the 1920s. They have been pioneers, forging business and cultural ties that bind the social fabric of Dubai since 1958. Back then, community leaders founded the first Indian Temple, finding its humble beginnings in one room. It was a home that welcomed the diaspora at large to come to find peace when they needed it and at the crossroads of modernity and tradition to ensure the preservation of their beliefs that would be meaningful for the future generation.

Mirroring this expansion, the Indian community saw an astronomical increase in its population from roughly 6,000 in 1958 to the 3.4 million people who call the UAE their home. This meteoric rise also breathed new life into every aspect of the economy, from business to tourism making Indians an immensely influential demographic in the region. With over 30,000 businesses ranging from small to medium and multinational, the community assimilated seamlessly. Today, Dubai is famously known as one of the most sought-after overseas cities for Indians.

The Hindu Temple Dubai is an institution inspired, in part, by the legacy of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.

The temple aims to mirror his visionary approach by laying the foundation for an establishment that will stand the test of time. A space empowered by a simple but moving thought, ‘For the people, by the people’.

The first Hindu Temple in Dubai was built in 1958 in Bur Dubai when the then Ruler of Dubai late His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum permitted a Hindu Temple to be built for expats living in the UAE. At that time, it was the only temple for the large diaspora in this country. Till date, Hindu expats in Dubai comprise a large chunk of the population.

Today, on the auspicious occasion of Dusshera, a new Hindu temple will be opening in Jebel Ali’s Worship Village. The much-anticipated new temple — Hindu Temple Dubai — represents the first independent Hindu temple in the UAE. Adjacent to it is the Guru Nanak Darbar and seven churches in Jebel Ali, making the locality a multi-religious Corridor of Tolerance in Dubai.

The Hindu Temple Dubai is a community-driven space informed by tradition, nurtured by faith and crafted for the future. It is a contemporary spiritual hub, for all faiths that houses the many faces of divinity, from communal connection to worship, knowledge and societal aid.

According to the organisers of the Hindu Temple Dubai, it has taken the trustees three years to bring this dream to a reality since 2019. After one year of planning, as soon as groundbreaking began, Covid-19 had struck Dubai. Against all odds, with the careful guidance and support of the Dubai government, construction continued over the last two years to bring this landmark to life.

In an eventful official opening yesterday, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence; Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to the UAE; Dr. Omar Al-Muthanna, Chief Executive Officer of the Social Regulatory and Licensing Agency for the Community Development Authority (CDA), temple officials welcomed devotees to the 70,000 square foot premises by monumentally lighting a lantern together to celebrate the opening. Over 200 dignitaries, ambassadors and local community leaders attended the celebration.

The organisers said: “Despite Covid-19, construction timelines were not hampered because of the support of the Dubai government. The Hindu Temple Dubai is truly a remarkable icon of how receptive and compassionate the Dubai government is. The Emirati generosity remains. Whether it was in 1958 to launch the first mandir in the country or the Hindu Temple now — we are grateful to be in Dubai.”

By the end of the year, there will be a spacious community centre where Hindu ceremonies including rituals and prayers can take place including weddings, naming ceremonies and janiyas (thread ceremony), with an option for catering. More announcements will follow in due course.

The Hindu Temple Dubai is run by a committee of community leaders with the aim to serve the community. The temple’s vision is to offer divinity through serenity and purpose. The four pillars of the Temple are: place of worship, knowledge community activities and outreach.

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