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BAPS Hindu Mandir opens in Abu Dhabi 

First Public Sunday draws more than 65,000 Pilgrims and Visitors

In a momentous occasion for the Hindu community in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi welcomed a staggering 65,000 pilgrims and visitors on the first Sunday since its public opening. 

The faithful came in busloads and carloads with over 40,000 visiting in the morning and a further 25,000 during the evening. Despite the sizeable crowds, the visitors, grouped in batches of 2,000, queued patiently and progressed orderly into the Mandir campus. People felt blessed upon receiving darshan of the murtis as a great sense of peace and devotion marked the day.

Sumant Rai from Abu Dhabi exclaimed, “Never have I seen such amazing order in the midst of thousands of people. I was worried I would have to wait for hours and not be able to do darshan peacefully, but we had amazing darshan and were extremely satisfied. Hats off to all the BAPS volunteers and Mandir staff.”

Pravina Shah from London gave her experience of her first visit to the BAPS Hindu Mandir, stating, “I have a disability and the care given by the staff despite thousands of visitors was remarkable. I could see the crowds of people being ushered peacefully from one zone to the next.”

Balchandra from Kerala shared, “I thought I would be lost in the sea of people, but I was so surprised with how well the visit was managed. I was able to peacefully enjoy darshan. Can’t wait until my next visit.”

Visitors were able to enjoy darshan of the beautiful Mandir and offer their prayers collectively. The enthusiasm to take part in the religious rituals of the abhishek and the arti left many people feeling emotional as they experienced peace and tranquillity. Many were also in awe of the mandir’s intricate architecture. The vibrant colours of clothing worn by visitors created a sea of hues, adding to the festive atmosphere. Eagerly anticipating their visit, people travelled from far and wide, having expectations surpassed by the joy and serenity they experienced.

Neha and Pankaj, who have lived in Dubai for 40 years, exclaimed, “We have been waiting for this moment, and the Mandir has exceeded all our expectations! It’s a true marvel. We feel blessed because now we have a place to come and offer our prayers and feel the spirituality.”

Piyush from Portland, USA, said, “The opening of this Mandir is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s a beautiful representation of unity among different communities.”

Luis from Mexico remarked, “The architecture and intricate details in the stones are amazing. I really appreciate getting to see the cultural heritage of India. People, come join!”

Brahmaviharidas Swami, reflecting on the historic significance of the opening Sunday for the public, stated, “We are deeply grateful to the leaders of the UAE and the local authorities for the new bus services and their all-round support in making this day a reality. We would also like to thank the pilgrims who were so patient and so understanding during their visit. This Mandir will serve as a beacon of spirituality and a hub of harmony, bringing together people of all backgrounds and beliefs.”

The UAE government’s dedication to accessibility and inclusivity was further highlighted by the introduction of a new bus route (203) from Abu Dhabi to the Mandir, facilitating weekend visits and emphasising the country’s commitment to fostering cultural diversity and inclusivity.

The BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi not only marks a significant milestone in promoting spiritual and cultural unity, but also stands as a testament to the UAE’s forward-thinking approach to diversity and inclusion. As the doors of the Mandir remain open, it continues to welcome all who seek peace, spirituality, and a sense of community.

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