His Excellency Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, His Excellency Mohamed Al Balooshi, and senior officials of the DCD, received a traditional welcome at the BAPS Hindu Mandir.
Their visit started with a detailed presentation outlining the Mandir’s progress. After a joint ceremony showering petals on bricks from well-wishers around the world, symbolising prayers for peace and harmony, the delegation explored the Mandir site.
Their tour included the waterfall feature representing the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers, followed by eco-friendly shoe houses which can accommodate up to 2,000 pairs of shoes.
Later, they visited the ‘Orchard,’ a sattvic food court where the benches, tables, and chairs were crafted from wooden pallets initially used for stone transportation, typically considered waste. This inventive repurposing of wood contributes positively to the environment, a press release from BAPS said.
Swami Brahmaviharidas guided His Excellency to the Mandir’s main entrance and unveiled a unique water feature that rises upwards against the falling water, symbolising the essence of life and its spiritual journey – an enduring endeavour to rise amid obstacles that attempt to hinder progress.
The visit encompassed the Ghat (Amphitheatre) offering a view of the Mandir and holy rivers. His Excellency admired the intricate carvings on the Mandir’s façade, including camels, oryxes and falcons which are animals native to the UAE.
His Excellency also viewed 14 value tales from Arabian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Aztec and Indian civilizations and praised the detailed carvings depicting the Ramayan on the spire.
He said, “This Mandir is really beyond my expectations… it is really a masterpiece of art.”
The delegation then advanced to the first dome, named the ‘Dome of Harmony’ which unravels a compelling symbolism spread over five layers.
The first layer exhibits carvings of tranquil cows, symbolising Earth’s essence. The subsequent layer showcases intricate designs of oceans and seashells, portraying the spirit of Water.
Progressing upward, the third tier illustrates the sun in its 12 distinctive forms, representing the element of Fire.
Beyond that, depictions of deer leaping through the clouds embody the element of Air.
Finally, a celestial panorama featuring stars, galaxies, and the moon crowns the apex, signifying the all-encompassing ether, or Space, that unifies everyone.
At this point, Swami Brahmaviharidas introduced His Excellency to the BAPS volunteers engaged in the Mandir’s interior work.
Progressing further, His Excellency was delighted to witness the ‘pillar of pillars’ – a pillar embellished with 1,400 intricately carved smaller pillars, each exuding symmetry and beauty.
Eventually, he proceeded to the central shrine where the murtis of Shri Akshar-Purushottam Maharaj will be consecrated. Here, the marble pillars depict episodes from Bhagwan Swaminarayan’s life, each laden with profound values.
Before leaving, His Excellency expressed, “This Mandir is really beyond my expectations, I have seen today the effort that has been put in by the swamis and volunteers; this is a masterpiece of art.”
He added, “This Mandir gives you the feeling of harmony and peace.”
Concluding his remarks he said, “This is a great addition to our country. This is a place of worship where everyone from the UAE will come. Soon, we will celebrate the opening together. I would like to thank all the people who are part of this great project.”