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Inspired by Akshardham, Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple not to use steel, iron during construction

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Dubai, Feb 14: The first Hindu temple in the UAE's capital Abu Dhabi will not use any steel or ferrous materials and will be built adopting the traditional temple architecture in India, temple committee officials have said.

Two years after the groundbreaking ceremony, the Swaminarayan temple of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sansth (BAPS) witnessed a major construction milestone as first fly ash concrete pouring for its raft foundation took place on Thursday.

File photo of Akshardham

A large number of expatriates from the Indian diaspora gathered at the site of the temple to witness the major construction milestone. Describing the ceremony as UAE's largest single pouring of fly ash concrete in 3000 cubic meters, Ashok Kotecha, spokesperson of the temple committee, told Gulf News:

"Usually, (building) foundations have a mix of concrete and steel. However, as per traditional temple architecture in India, no steel or iron reinforcements will be used.

"Fly ash will be used to reinforce the concrete in the foundation. Throughout the (whole structure of the) temple, the architecture is like several pieces of jigsaw put together without any steel or ferrous materials."

Fly ash is used as a reinforcement in concrete. In some cases, fly ash can add to the concrete's final strength and increase its chemical resistance and durability. Fly ash can significantly improve the workability of concrete.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for BAPS temple in the capital of the UAE, home to over three million people of Indian origin, in 2018 via video conferencing from the Dubai Opera House.

Over 3,000 craftsmen are working tirelessly in India, carving icons and statues with 5000 tons of Italian Carrara Marble and the exteriors will be made of 12,250 tons of pink sandstone. India's ambassador to UAE Pavan Kapoor, and Indian Consul General in Dubai Vipul were present along with several prominent members of the Indian business community and members of the Community Development Authority (CDA), Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the Gulf News reported.

Addressing the audience, Kapoor thanked the UAE government and said: "it was a great privilege and honour to visit the temple site for the first time."

Omar Al Muthanna, chief executive officer, CDA, Dubai, the religious observer from the government, said: "Religion is a key factor to feel at home. The UAE is not a passing home. We want you to feel completely at home and this is our commitment to you."

The ceremony was conducted by Brahmavihari Das, the senior most saint of the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple group. Special prayers for the project and the UAE were said. Addressing the gathering, the priest said: "This temple transcends the borders that divide us. It's destined to be a place beyond the limits that split us. (It's) something we have experienced within the depth of our souls in the UAE."

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