Added on : 2023-05-26 11:44:29
In a display of unity and mutual respect, ambassadors from more than 30 Nations convened at the construction site of the BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi. The aim of the visit was to promote intercultural understanding and witness the progress of the region's first traditional Hindu mandir. Upcoming on a vast 27-acre site, this magnificent stone mandir and cultural complex is a manifestation of the universal values of tolerance and harmony.
The insightful visit provided the ambassadors with a comprehensive overview of the mandir's historical significance, the construction process, and the expected impact, conveyed through captivating video presentations and personal experiences.
Mr. Ashok Kotecha, Mr. Yogesh Mehta, Mr. Chirag Patel, Mr. Pranav Desai and the dedicated directors and volunteers overseeing the mandir's construction, warmly welcomed more than 85 esteemed guests. The dignitaries were adorned with garlands and were welcomed with traditional tying of a sacred thread, a revered Hindu gesture symbolizing friendship and goodwill.
His Excellency Sunjay Sudhir, the Indian ambassador to the UAE, highlighted the long-standing friendship between India and the UAE, rooted in history, culture, and trade. He went on to praise the tolerance and generosity of the UAE Leadership and added, “this mandir represents the collective aspirations of faith of the broad Indian community living in the UAE, especially the saints and volunteers of BAPS who are serving tirelessly and selflessly to build this mandir of tolerance and harmony.”
Through a video presentation, Minister of External Affairs of India Dr. S. Jaishankar, shared his hopes of what the mandir would mean for UAE and the world as well as his deep respect for the vision and direction of the UAE leadership. He emphasized that one of the most touching and fulfilling moments of his life was the announcement and now seeing the BAPS Hindu Mandir coming up. He further added “real change is when different cultures connect with each other respectfully encompassing equality and fairness”.
In his address, Swami Brahmaviharidas warmly welcomed the ambassadors exclaiming that the presence of the diplomatic fraternity and their families is a testament to the unifying power of faith and culture.
"Celebrating the past, addressing the present and recalibrating the future, BAPS Hindu Mandir amalgamates ancient art and architecture, modern science and technology, universal values and spirituality. Your presence here sends a hopeful message of harmony and is a testament to the belief that dialogue, exchange and engagement can bring us all closer together and make this world a happier place”.
Swami Brahmaviharidas went on to thank both the UAE and Indian leaderships, “we are equally grateful to HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Hon. Shri Narendra Modi. They are both visionary leaders who have encouraged pluralism and harmony. It is our hope that through this mandir, we will be able to serve the UAE and the world for millennia to come as a spiritual oasis for global harmony.”
After an initial briefing, the guests embarked on a guided tour by sprinkling flowers on the bricks to be used for the mandir. The guests were amazed to see the wonder of the intricate carvings and delicate designs featuring timeless values of India and ancient civilizations. Many were astounded to learn that Arabian, Mayan, Greek and other cultural tales that encourage peace, tolerance, and harmony have been immortalized in stone on the mandir’s façade. Ensuring the mandir endures for centuries to come, skilled craftsmen from India meticulously created these artworks without any steel reinforcements and pieced them together like a giant stone jigsaw.
In light of the visit, the esteemed Ambassador of New Zealand, H.E. Dr. Richard Kay conveyed his profound delight, stating, "the mandir - a cultural asset will be a fantastic addition to the skyline of the UAE.”
Similarly, the Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Akio Isomata was immensely moved with his visit. He expressed his amazement, stating, "I am overwhelmed with the Indian craftsmanship. I see a philosophy of tolerance in the carvings."
H.E. Aminath Shabeena, ambassador of the Maldives exclaimed, “one must truly visit and witness the detailed carvings and heartfelt emotions of the volunteers”. She was moved with the designs of the upcoming mandir stating “the most striking carvings that represent the flora and fauna of India and the UAE”. She concluded “it is wonderous to see the tolerance of the leadership of the UAE”.
The Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Amir Hayek shared his sentiments stating “this monument is being constructed in a country built on tolerance and will most certainly contribute to harmony in the region and the world”. He also tweeted immediately after his visit “I have no doubt that the mandir will be a source of attraction for visitors from all over the world”.
As a mark of appreciation and to cherish this memorable visit, each esteemed Ambassador waspresented a beautifully crafted miniature model of the mandir.
The BAPS Hindu Mandir, which will be opening in less than a year now, is already poised to add new landmark to Abu Dhabi’s celebrated collection of culture, art and values – from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to the Louvre and the Guggenheim.
The ambassadors' visit was a significant step in promoting peace, fostering cultural interaction, and strengthening diplomatic ties between the participating countries and the United Arab Emirates.