February 29, 2024

Ambassadors and diplomats from 42 countries recently gathered at the BAPS Hindu Mandir in the UAE to witness the remarkable progress of the Middle East’s first traditional stone temple. The distinguished guests were invited by Sunjay Sudhir, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, and were welcomed with garlands and a traditional tying of sacred threads.

Scheduled to be inaugurated on February 14 by Mahant Swami Maharaj and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BAPS Hindu Mandir has reached a significant milestone, drawing praise from more than 60 dignitaries, including ambassadors and diplomats. The occasion marked a moment of historical significance as the envoys explored the hand-carved temple during a guided tour led by dedicated BAPS volunteers.

In his keynote address, Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas, the head of the BAPS Hindu Mandir project, underscored the temple’s historical importance, detailed its construction process, and highlighted its global impact. He expressed gratitude to both the UAE and Indian leadership, emphasizing the temple’s role as a potent agent fostering interfaith and intercultural harmony.

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The diplomats were visibly impressed by the intricate craftsmanship of the temple, symbolizing universal principles of tolerance and harmony. Ambassador Tej Bahadur Chhetri of Nepal described the temple as an inspirational structure that imparts lessons on love, harmony, and tolerance, destined to be a gift to future generations.

Ambassador Radha Krishna Panday of Canada commended the dedication to quality, artistic elements, and thoughtful image choices that celebrate the diversity and harmony of human nature within the temple. Ambassador Sorayut Chasombat of Thailand deemed his visit one of the best experiences in the UAE, expressing admiration for the project’s symbolic representation of harmony.

Jonathan Knight, Deputy Ambassador of the UK, appreciated the collaborative effort from various faiths contributing to the construction of a lasting structure, while Ambassador Alexander Schonfelder of Germany emphasized the lived religious tolerance in the country.

Ambassador Kamal R Vaswani of Singapore lauded the temple as a marvel of leadership and vision, considering it a testament to the human spirit and a symbol of peaceful coexistence.

Representatives from a multitude of countries, including Argentina, Egypt, the EU, Israel, the Philippines, and the United States, among others, graced the occasion. To commemorate their visit, guests received a beautiful hand-painted stone featuring an image of the temple, crafted by children.

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