PM Modi reaches Doha after grand opening of BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Doha, the capital city of Qatar, after the grand opening of BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Narendra Modi at BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi on February 14, 2024. Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi

He received rapturous greetings from Indians in Qatar, and posted on X early this morning: “An exceptional welcome in Doha! Grateful to the Indian diaspora.”

Modi meets Indians in Doha
PM Narendra Modi greeted by Indian diaspora in Doha, Qatar, after the BAPS temple opening in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi
Indian children in Doha greet Modi
Indian children in Doha greet PM Modi. Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi

The Indian premier had a meeting with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani. “Had a wonderful meeting with PM @MBA_AlThani_. Our discussions revolved around ways to boost India-Qatar friendship,” wrote Modi on X.

India recently scored a major diplomatic win by freeing and bringing back eight Indian Navy veterans from Qatar, who had been imprisoned on espionage charges.

Modi holds bilateral talks in Qatar
Indian PM Narendra Modi meets Qatari PM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani in Doha on February 15, 2024. Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi

Before this, Modi attended the high-profile inauguration of BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi, as part of his two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates. “The @BAPS Hindu Mandir, Abu Dhabi, UAE, opens its doors for devotees! Feel very blessed to be a part of this very sacred moment. Here are some glimpses,” he posted, with several images.

This magnificent temple, established by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), is also simply called the “Swaminarayan temple”, one of the many around the world and now the largest stone-cut Hindu temple in the Middle East.

BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi
Indian PM Narendra Modi with Hindu monks, Emirati officials, and temple associates at BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi

Pre-opening temple rituals had begun in early February 2024 with the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader and current president of the globally active Swaminarayan Sanstha.

Mahant Swami Maharaj in Abu Dhabi
Devotees greet Mahant Swami Maharaj at BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi a few days before its opening. Photo courtesy: Facebook/BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi
Pre-opening rituals at BAPS temple Abu Dhabi
Pre-opening festivities at BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy: Facebook/BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi

Land for the BAPS temple was given by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Laying of the foundation stone took place in 2019, with the ceremony attended by several Arab dignitaries, including Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Co-existence.

Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak
Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Co-existence, with BAPS monks at the Hindu mandir Shilanyas in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Screenshot courtesy: YouTube/BAPS UAE

At the February 14, 2024, inauguration — this was also the auspicious day of Basant Panchami — Modi described the temple as a symbol of the shared heritage of humanity and thanked the UAE for scripting a new golden chapter of human history.

Modi prays at BAPS temple Abu Dhabi
Indian PM Narendra Modi prays at BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi

The Indian prime minister once again profusely thanked Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for making this grand temple in Abu Dhabi a reality. Modi said that the UAE president had not only won the hearts of Indians living in the Gulf nation but also of 140 crore (1.4 billion) Indians.

Idols at new Abu Dhabi temple
Idols at BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi, aka Swaminarayan temple. Photo courtesy: X/@narendramodi

“I hope that the BAPS Mandir will become a symbol of communal harmony and global unity for the whole world,” Modi said, addressing a gathering that included UAE minister Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak and spiritual leaders from all faiths.

Recalling the consecration ceremony of the newly constructed Ram Mandir in Ayodhya last month, the prime minister said, “Our immense pleasure in Ayodhya has been further enhanced by the wave of happiness received in Abu Dhabi today. It is my good fortune that I have been a witness to the grand Shri Ram temple first in Ayodhya, and then to this temple in Abu Dhabi.”

Modi noted that this was not only the time of India’s “Amrit Kaal”, but also the time of “Amrit Kaal” of faith and culture.

“We do not see hatred in diversity; we consider diversity as our specialty! In this temple, we will see a glimpse of diverse faiths at each and every step,” Modi said.

He said that the UAE, which until now was known for Burj Khalifa, Future Museum, and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, had now added another cultural chapter to its identity.

“I am confident that a large number of devotees will come here in the times to come. This will also increase the number of people coming to the UAE and increase the people-to-people connect between the two countries,” said the Indian prime minister.

If there is anyone who has the biggest and the most significant role in making this grand temple [in Abu Dhabi] a reality, then it is none other than my brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prayers for peace outside BAPS temple Abu Dhabi
Day of prayers: Vedic yagna ritual for global harmony, before BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi opening. Photo courtesy: X/@BAPS

Describing BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi, Modi said, “On the walls of the temple, alongside the Hindu religion, you will see hieroglyphs from Egypt. Stories from the Bible and Koran have been carved [too]. At the entrance of the temple you get to see the wall of harmony, which has been built by our brothers from the Bohra Muslim community.”

The prime minister said that the impressive 3D experience in this temple was initiated by members of the Parsi community and the responsibility of the langar was taken up by Sikh brethren.

“Members of every religion and sect have come forward to build this temple. The seven pillars of this temple represent the seven emirates. This is the nature of the Indian people. Wherever we go, we respect and imbibe their culture and values. This aspect of respect for every faith is also seen in the life of Sheikh Mohamed [bin Zayed],” he said.

Those gathered at the event gave a standing ovation to the UAE president as a mark of appreciation of his contribution to the construction of the temple.

During the temple visit, Modi met people from different faiths who contributed to the construction of the first Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi.

The prime minister also offered water in the virtual Ganga and Yamuna rivers at the temple before proceeding to inaugurate the temple.

He inscribed “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” on the stone using a hammer and chisel at the temple. The Sanskrit phrase means “The world is one family”.


According to the temple authorities, the grand BAPS temple in Abu Dhabi has been built as per an ancient style of construction and creation mentioned in the Shilpa and Sthapathya Shastras, Hindu scriptures that describe the art for mandir design and construction.

“The architectural methods have been clubbed with scientific techniques here. Over 300 high-tech sensors have been installed at every level of the temple to measure temperature, pressure and movement (seismic activity). The sensors will provide live data for research. If there is any earthquake in the region, the temple will detect it, and we will be able to study [it],” said Swami Brahmaviharidas, head of international relations for BAPS, speaking to the Press Trust of India.

No metal has been used in the construction of the temple and fly ash has been used to fill up the foundation, replacing 55 per cent of cement in the concrete mix, reducing the carbon footprint of the temple.

UAE minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed with Swami Brahmaviharidas
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, with Swami Brahmaviharidas, holding a 3D-printed replica of the new BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi. File photo courtesy:

Madhusudan Patel, the temple’s construction manager, told PTI, “We have used heat-resistant nano tiles and heavy glass panels, merging both traditional aesthetic stone structures with modern-day functionality.”

He added, “Considering the extreme temperatures in the UAE, the tiles will be comfortable for visitors to walk [on] even in hot weather. Non-ferrous material has also been used in the temple.”

Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple has been made in the Nagara style of architecture, just like the recently inaugurated Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. According to Umesh Raja, a volunteer at the temple, 20,000 tonnes of sandstone pieces were carved in Rajasthan and then shipped to Abu Dhabi in 700 containers.

“Not just the stone, [but also] many labourers who helped construct the temple over five years belong to Gujarat and Rajasthan. Even the marble mined from Italy was first shipped to India for carving and then back to the UAE to be used in the interiors,” he said.