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Abu Dhabi temple’s 25,000 stone pieces are carved by Rajasthani, Gujarati artisans

Ram Kumar Kaushik

After more than four years of meticulous craftsmanship, skilled artisans from Rajasthan are preparing to unveil the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. Scheduled for inauguration on February 14th, the temple stands as a testament to cultural harmony and craftsmanship.

Initiated in 2019 amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, artisans from the villages of Makrana in Udaipur district embarked on a creative journey to bring to life the grand vision of a temple adorned with sculptures of Hindu deities like Lord Rama and Lord Ganesha.

Ram Kishan Singh, a third-generation sculptor from Makrana, expressed his excitement about contributing to the construction of a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. He said “I am a third-generation sculptor and we make designs by carving stones for a living. I was very excited about the idea of a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. What better example to send than the message of brotherhood and communal harmony? I have worked on 83 pieces for the temple and what shape it has taken”

The temple, constructed by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha on a 27-acre plot near Al Rahba, along the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Road, boasts exquisite marble carvings crafted from over 25,000 stone pieces by skilled artisans from Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The architectural marvel incorporates elements from Hindu scriptures, featuring domes, spires, and pillars adorned with intricate carvings depicting stories from the Ramayana, Shiv Puran, Bhagavat Katha, and Mahabharata, among others.

The Dome of Harmony symbolizes the synergy of five natural elements—earth, water, fire, air, and space—while sculptures depicting fortitude, commitment, and resilience adorn the temple, drawing inspiration from the UAE’s landscape.

Withstanding temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius, the selection of these stones showcases practical considerations for the UAE’s climate. Additionally, Italian marble has been used to ensure durability and magnificence.

News agency ANI has posted a video of the Temple which is being given final touches for inauguration on january 14:

Balram Tank, a fifth-generation artisan, highlighted the significance of their craftsmanship in narrating the stories of sacred scriptures, expressing pride in their work being showcased for generations to come. “We have created intricate carvings using the finest white marble and pink sandstone that narrate stories from the holy scriptures. These elaborate pieces now serve as the centerpiece of the temple. I saw a video of the day when these were being put up on the site and I jumped with excitement. I am very proud that my creations will be on display for centuries to be admired by all” Balram explained.

Balram and his brothers also worked on the new Ram temple in Ayodhya. He said that it is the blessing of the Lord that our work is getting a place in these temples.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address the Indian community at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on February 13th, followed by his participation in a dedication ceremony at the BAPS temple the next day. According to temple officials, over 40,000 cubic feet of marble have been used in the interior construction, showcasing a blend of traditional aesthetics with modern functionality, incorporating nano tiles and heavy-duty glass panels.

Vishal Brahmbhatt, overseeing procurement and logistics, emphasized the collaborative effort involved in sourcing over two lakh cubic feet of sacred stones for the temple’s construction, amidst global challenges posed by the pandemic and conflicts.

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Amid unprecedented global challenges, the realization of this monumental project underscores the power of faith and cooperation. Transworld Group, DP World, Dubai Customs, and Mundra Port have played crucial roles in transforming this vision into reality.

(Author is Delhi based Senior Journalist)

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