Ambassadors and diplomats from 42 countries visited the BAPS Hindu Mandir to witness the continued progress of the Middle East’s first traditional stone temple.
The envoys gathered at the temple at the invitation of Sunjay Sudhir, India’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
“It seemed impossible, but the dream has really come true,” Sudhir said as the temple nears completion and is scheduled to be inaugurated on February 14 by Mahant Swami Maharaj and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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More than 60 dignitaries, including ambassadors and diplomats, were welcomed with garlands and greeted with the traditional tying of a sacred thread.
In his keynote address, Pujya Swami Brahmaviharidas, BAPS Hindu Mandir project director, highlighted the historical importance of the temple, the construction process and the global impact. He also expressed gratitude to the leaders of the UAE and India, emphasizing the role of the temple as a powerful agent of interfaith and intercultural harmony.
BAPS volunteers gave the diplomats a guided tour of the hand-carved temple and expressed their admiration for the historic project, which symbolizes the universal principles of tolerance and harmony.
Tej Bahadur Chhetri, ambassador of Nepal, stressed that the temple is an inspiring building that teaches people about love, harmony and tolerance.
“It is something that we will give to our future generations. Mahant Swami Maharaj is a great sadhu. Because of him, people were inspired to build this Mandir and it is a great success.”
Radha Krishna Panday, Ambassador of Canada, said: “The dedication to quality, artistry and thought put into the choice of images to celebrate the diversity and harmony of human nature are very striking and attractive.”
Sorayut Chasombat, ambassador of Thailand, called the visit one of the best experiences he had in the UAE.
“I’ve seen [the temple] from the beginning until now near the end, and I must say that it is the symbol of harmony that will stand the test of time for thousands of years in the future. I wish to express my gratitude to the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, the leaders of India and [Mahant] Swami Maharaj for introducing this great project for humanity.”
Jonathan Knight, Deputy Ambassador of the United Kingdom, said: “It is wonderful to see a place to which so many different faiths have contributed come together to build something that will last for generations. “My hope is that this building provides a home away from home.”
Alexander Schonfelder, German ambassador, stressed: “We have the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Abrahamic Family Houses in Abu Dhabi, and now we have this wonderful place. “I think it is clear that we live in a country where religious tolerance really exists.”
Kamal R Vaswani, ambassador of Singapore, praised the temple as a marvel of leadership and vision and a testament to the human spirit.
“There are many commonalities between us all, values represented around the temple shared by many different religions, cultures and faiths. “It is a wonderful symbol of how we can live together in peace and harmony.”
Among the high-level ambassadors and diplomats who visited the site were those from Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chad, Chile, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, the EU, Fiji , Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Moldova, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, United Arab Emirates United States, United Kingdom, United States, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
To commemorate their visit, guests received a beautiful stone hand-painted by children with an image of the temple.
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