BAPS Hindu Mandir foundation stone-laying ceremony completed, celebrating UAE’s commitment to tolerance

Abu Dhabi (press release) : Marking a significant moment in the history of the UAE, around 5,000 devotees and
well-wishers thronged to participate in and witness the foundation stone-laying ceremony of
the BAPS Hindu Mandir. Volunteers began to arrive at the site location as early as 6:00 a.m.,
with participants arriving at 8:00 a.m. The Shilanyas Ceremony, which is an ancient Vedic
ritual performed to bless and sanctify the main foundation stones, commenced at 9:00 a.m.
This ceremony signifies the beginning of the construction of the Mandir.



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 was showered on the stones by His Holiness and the distinguished guests.
The enthusiasm and devotion of all participants and volunteers was evident as they arrived
for the Vedic ceremony.


Prior to the celebration assembly, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and the Ministers
unveiled a Gift of Gratitude, an intricate piece of artwork comprising a base made of pink
sandstone – the stone that will be used for building the Mandir and metal fins of various
sizes forming an image of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The artwork is a gift to The
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on behalf of the
Indian community in appreciation of the support of the rulers and people of the UAE.
During the assembly, Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, a senior BAPS sadhu who is overseeing
the construction of the Mandir in Abu Dhabi stated, “I would like to thank the King HH Khalifa
Bin Zayad Al Nahyan and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and all
rulers and leaders who have shown so much love and extended their complete support”. He
added that this Mandir will be “a spiritual oasis for global harmony in the middle of the


Indian Ambassador to the UAE His Excellency Navdeep Suri addressed the assembly, “It is
an absolute honour to be in the midst of this journey which happens only once in a
millennium.” He then read out a letter on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which said,
“When complete, this Mandir will symbolize the universal human values, and spiritual ethos
that form a shared heritage of both India and UAE…. UAE is celebrating the Year of
Tolerance. This Mandir, is an expression by the United Arab Emirates, of their love,
friendship and faith in India and the Indian community.”

His Excellency Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili addressed the gathering: “It is my honour to
stand here with you today to celebrate this day by laying the foundation of the Hindu Mandir.
This constitutes a great relation between the two countries, nations and cultures. Our
presence here today shows the really strong relationship between the two nations. This
Mandir reflects the greatness of tolerance.”

Dr. B.R. Shetty, Chairman of Mandir Ltd then thanked Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Nahyan,
and Sheikh Zayed as well as the government and community for their whole-hearted support
of the Mandir.

In conclusion, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj blessed the assembly, “Right now,
peace, love and harmony are all over this campus. We cannot buy peace with money or
intelligence. Peace comes to those who love peace. May goodness and peace spread
further from here.”


The event was meticulously planned by volunteers of all walks of life living within and outside
of the UAE. Small children could be seen serving the community by meticulously organizing
shoes, lady volunteers were helping with decorations, food distribution and ushering the
public to the venue. Additionally, the contribution of youths from the UAE, US, UK and other
countries illustrated the significance of this landmark community project and the spirit of
service embedded within the BAPS fellowship.

After the conclusion of the ceremony and assembly, throughout the day over 17,000
devotees and well-wishers from numerous spiritual and social organizations, including Art of
Living, Chinmay Mission, Jain Samaj, Dubai Gurudwara, Brahma Kumaris, Iskcon, Ayappa
Samaj, Tamil Samaj and all others, visited to offer their respects and devotion.
This historic event was attended by devotees, volunteers and well-wishers from India, USA,
UK, Europe, Japan, Africa, China, South East Asia, Australia and many other countries.

– Mandir Ltd