BAPS Temple in UAE

BAPS Temple in UAE

News: During his two-day visit to UAE, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Abu Dhabi, the first Hindu temple in the Gulf nation.

What is BAPS?
• The temple has been built by the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), a denomination of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, a Vaishnav sect of Hinduism.
• BAPS has a network of around 1,550 temples across the world, including the Akshardham temples in New Delhi and Gandhinagar, and Swaminarayan temples in London, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Nairobi.

How did the demand for such a temple come up?
• A BAPS spokesperson said Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the tenth spiritual guru and head of the sect, on April 5, 1997 had envisioned a Hindu temple in the desert sands of Abu Dhabi which could bring countries, communities and cultures together.

What are the features of the temple?
• The Abu Dhabi temple is a traditional stone Hindu temple with seven shikhars. Built in the traditional Nagar style, the temple’s front panel depicts universal values, stories of harmony from different cultures, Hindu spiritual leaders and avatars.
• Spread over 27 acres, the temple complex is on 13.5 acres, with a parking area of 13.5 acres that can accommodate around 1,400 cars and 50 buses. The 13.5 acres of land was gifted by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE in 2019.
• The height of the temple is 108 ft, length 262 ft and width 180 ft.
• While the external facade uses pink sandstone from Rajasthan, the interior uses Italian marbles.
• The temple has two central domes, Dome of Harmony and Dome of Peace, emphasising human coexistence through the carvings of earth, water, fire, air, and plants.
• The seven shikhars (spires) are representative of the seven Emirates of the UAE.

What are the key architectural features?
• The temple was judged the Best Mechanical Project of the Year 2019 at the MEP Middle East Awards, and the Best Interior Design Concept of the Year 2020.
• No ferrous material (which is more vulnerable to corrosion) has been used in the temple.

What is the significance of the temple?
• A BAPS spokesperson said, A Muslim king donated land for a Hindu Mandir, where the lead architect is a Catholic Christian, the project manager a Sikh, the foundational designer a Buddhist, the construction company a Parsi group, and the director comes from the Jain tradition. (You can quote such examples in Ethics answers)

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