Singapore firm to build Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple

The signing ceremony in Dubai was attended by Navdeep Singh Suri, India’s ambassador to the UAE, and Samuel Tan Chi Tse, Singapore’s ambassador to the UAE. (AN Photo)
Updated 10 August 2018
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Singapore firm to build Abu Dhabi’s first Hindu temple

  • A large social, cultural and sports complex will be constructed around the temple
  • The main part of the complex is scheduled for inauguration during Expo 2020

DUBAI: Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) — the global religious and civic organization that is part of the Swaminarayan branch of Hinduism — has announced that it has selected Singapore-based architects Raglan Squire and Partners (RSP) to oversee the design and construction of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, granted land for the temple in Al-Rahba — close to Abu Dhabi city.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the project during his visit to the UAE in February.

“India and the Indians here in the UAE recognize that the UAE shares our values of inclusiveness and mutual progress, and today’s event is representative of that,” Navdeep Singh Suri, India’s ambassador to the UAE, said at the signing ceremony in Dubai on Thursday. “The UAE has the highest spirit of tolerance and brings people of all faiths and cultures together to develop a monumental project in the UAE.”

“I am very pleased that a Singaporean firm was chosen for this auspicious project. We treasure and guard the same values as India and the UAE. The entire essence of this project serves as an example of how different faiths and nationalities can come together,” said Samuel Tan Chi Tse, Singapore’s ambassador to the UAE.

The agreement was signed by Dr. B.R. Shetty, chairman of Mandir Limited (a non-profit company working under BAPS), and Lai Huen Poh, global managing director of RSP Architects, Planners and Engineers.

Shetty explained that BAPS’ traditional architects — known as “sompuras” — and engineers will design the stone temple, called “mandir” in Sanskrit. Its exterior will be made of pink sandstone from Rajasthan and its interior from white marble handcrafted by artisans in India.

RSP’s experts from Singapore, India and the UAE, along with BAPS’ core team and other consultants, will develop the cultural and spiritual complex around the temple, which will reportedly include places for children’s activities, exhibitions, multiple prayer halls to serve the community, and a “pure-vegetarian” food court, among other facilities.

The main part of the complex is scheduled for inauguration during Expo 2020, which will take place in Dubai.


UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

Updated 10 December 2018
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UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

LONDON: United Nations Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said on Monday that agreement on the de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah are ‘not there yet’.
Speaking at a press conference in Stockholm, following the first round of the UN sponsored peace talks between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, Griffiths told reporters that they will continue to discuss Hodeidah and Taiz.
He also said they are still working to find a common ground for the reopening of Sanaa airport.
During the talks, the two sides discussed a broad prisoner swap, however, Griffiths said the numbers of prisoners to be released by the warring parties will be announced soon.
The UN envoy said he expects to present a detailed plan for the next round of talks and hopes for an agreement from warring factions to hold the next round of talks early next year.