06, Oct 2022 | CJP Team
Tuesday, October 4 saw excitement among the Hindu worshippers in Dubai, as the newest Hindu temple in Dubai formally opened its doors to worshippers on Tuesday evening. And Dussehra Day, October 5, large numbers of people are scheduled and registered to visit the temple for the celebration of the important Hindu festival.
“We will have a lot of rush today, so just Darshans (altar viewing) as of now, and big aarti (Hindu ritual) at 7.30pm,” said one of the organisers Shroff to the media as reported by Khaleej Times.Those who are planning to go to the temple are advised to pre-register via a QR code, but walk-in visitors are also permitted.
Situated in a neighbourhood of Dubai known as the ‘worship village’, the grand place of worship was inaugurated in a ceremony marked with a powerful message of tolerance, peace, and harmony day before yesterday. The ‘worship village’ in Jebel Ali now houses nine religious shrines, including seven churches and the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Gurudwara.
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It was the Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, inaugurated the temple by lighting a lantern in the temple’s multi-purpose hall on the ground floor.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and Sunjay Sudhir Indian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates inaugurated the temple. Photo: Rahul Gajjar
Apart from officialdom that included Sunjay Sudhir, Indian Ambassador to the UAE; Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the social regulatory and licensing agency for the Community Development Authority (CDA); and Raju Shroff, trustee of the Hindu Temple Dubai were part of the festivities. Ahmed Abdul Karim Julfar, director-general of the Community Development Authority, was also present at the event.
On October 4, over 200 dignitaries, including the heads of diplomatic missions, religious leaders of several faiths, business owners and Indian community members were also present at the glittering opening ceremony. Indian ambassador Sunjay Sudhir reportedly saidsaid: “It is welcome news for the Indian community that a new Hindu temple is being inaugurated in Dubai today. The temple’s opening serves the religious aspirations of the large Hindu community living in the UAE. The new temple is adjoining a Gurudwara, which was opened years back, in 2012.
Photos: Rahul Gujjar
“We are honoured that Sheikh Nahayan inaugurated the new Hindu temple in Dubai. We thank the graciousness and generosity of the Dubai Government for providing land for the temple and facilitating its construction. We also thank the UAE government for providing a second home to 3.5 million Indians where they live and work and contribute to the economy and society.”
Photos: Rahul Gujjar
The actual plans to construct the 70,000-square-foot house of worship were announced in 2020, shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic struck the city. Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the opening ceremony, Shroff said: “The temple opening in Dubai is a dream come true not just for Hindus, but for Indians all over the UAE. The temple is a true representation of how we perceive religion – bringing cultures together.
“Despite Covid -19, the timeline for completion of the construction was not hampered because of the support of the Dubai government. The Hindu Temple Dubai is truly a remarkable icon of how receptive and compassionate Dubai and the Government of the UAE are. Whether it was in 1958 to launch the first ‘mandir’ in the country to the Hindu Temple now, the Emirati generosity remains.” Ironically, despite stereotypes about the Middle-East the first temple was constructed way back in 1958!
Pre-registration is required to visit the house of worship, and devotees can register online before arrival. Worshippers will have to register on the temple website, and almost 200,000 people visited the temple in September using the QR code appointment system, elaborated Shroff. By the end of 2022, there will be a spacious community Centre where Hindu ceremonies, rituals and prayers can take place, including weddings, naming ceremonies and ‘janeyu’ or sacred thread ceremonies, all with options for catering, said temple officials.