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One which is a home to hundreds of ideals, Another which is home to hundreds of cultures, communities, and countries; When they come together in Abu Dhabi for the creation of a Hindu mandir – a beacon of beauty, an oasis of peace, an ocean of spirituality, a home of harmony – history is not just celebrated, history is created.

The generous gift of land for a Hindu Mandir by HH The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

The generous gift of land for a Hindu Mandir by HH The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi is a strong and sound message to the world that cultural and spiritual inclusiveness is the way forward for global harmony. Especially in the 21st century, when the world is fragmenting for frivolous reasons, this timely noble gesture creates hope for unity in diversity. The history of this 35-year saga unfolds as follows:

The Vedic ceremony was performed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. The occasion was also graced with the presence of His Excellency Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development and Member of the Executive Council, His Excellency Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and His Excellency Dr Ahmad Bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills. Also present were His Excellency Navdeep Suri, Indian Ambassador to UAE, Vipul, the Consul General of India, and Dr. B.R. Shetty, Chairman of Mandir Ltd. After laying the foundation stones in position, water from the three main holy rivers of India - Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati was poured on the stones by His Holiness and the distinguished guests.

10 February 2018: It was the first time ever that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had used his Presidential Palace to receive any head of state or allowed visitors. Following his meeting with the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and the formal signing of eight MOUs between the UAE and India, announcements in Arabic and English invited the BAPS delegation to approach the two leaders. The Crown Prince and the Prime Minister both stood up to warmly welcome sadhus of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha – Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami and Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, and the members of the BAPS Hindu Mandir Committee – Dr B.R. Shetty, Sudhir Shetty, Rohitbhai Patel, Ashokbhai Kotecha and Yogeshbhai Mehta. The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi was officially announced in the royal court as a Golden Amrut Kalash and an elegant commemorative book was presented to each leader amidst a standing ovation.

11 February 2018: The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, in the presence of over 1,700 Indian and Emirati dignitaries, unveiled a model of the traditional stone mandir at the Dubai Opera. Simultaneously, the auspicious Vedic Shila Pujan was performed by Pujya Ishwarcharan Swami at the Mandir site in Abu Dhabi, which was streamed live at the Dubai Opera. In his address, the Prime Minister thanked the Crown Prince HH Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan for providing the land and permission for building a traditional Mandir. He further added, “The first traditional Mandir in Abu Dhabi will act as a catalyst for the flourishing of humanitarian values and harmony between the two countries. The Mandir will become a medium for India’s identity.”

In tune with UAE’s vision of tolerance and religious harmony, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan generously gifted a 13.7-acre plot of land at Abu Mureikheh, mid-way between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, to enable the building of the BAPS Hindu Mandir and cultural complex.

The UAE Government graciously decided to allot land for a Hindu Mandir. The Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi publicly appreciated the Government’s move at an assembly of more than 60,000 people in Abu Dhabi. He famously tweeted: "I am very thankful to the UAE Govt for their decision to allot land in order to build a mandir in Abu Dhabi. This is a great step."

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Mandir Limited were chosen and entrusted by both governments to construct, develop and administer the mandir project.

Notably, on 5 April 1997, the devotees took Pramukh Swami Maharaj to a desert area in Sharjah. There, Swamishri prayed: “1. May peace prevail here and everywhere. 2. May all religions of all countries grow greater love for one other. 3. May all countries be free of internal enmity and prejudice towards each other and may they all progress in their own unique way.” Then of his own accord Pramukh Swami Maharaj stated, “May a Mandir be built in Abu Dhabi!”

Over the next two decades, BAPS sadhus and devotees privately and peacefully sustained their faith while meeting community and government leaders to seek permission for land to build a Mandir as envisioned by Swamishri.