Hindu temple

Oldest Hindu temple in Dubai closes its doors

Thousands of worshippers turned up at a 65-year-old Hindu temple in Bur Dubai on Tuesday night to pray one last time before its closure. Built in 1958 in Bur Dubai’s Old Souq neighbourhood, the Sindhi Guru Darbar temple complex served as a spiritual refuge for hundreds of thousands of Hindu worshippers and tourists.

According to an unidentified source, the move was prompted by doubts about the safety of the old temple complex, as well as its inability to accommodate the growing number of visitors.

The temple, which began as a small prayer hall on top of a maze of small shops, was a cultural centre hosting hundreds of worshippers daily and on special occasions.

The complex was also a major tourist attraction with a maze of narrow alleys lined with shops selling fresh flowers, garlands and incense, transporting visitors to Dubai’s rich cultural world.

For many UAE residents, the temple has been an integral part of their lives, providing spiritual sustenance. Abu Dhabi resident Srinivas Asapu travelled all the way to Dubai on Tuesday night with his wife and daughter to pray at his favourite temple for the last time. He said the one-and-a-half hour drive from Abu Dhabi had never prevented him from visiting the temple regularly.

The Hindu temple complex in Bur Dubai is one of the rare places where a Hindu temple and a gurdwara of the Sikh community co-existed. Hindus and Sikhs came in droves daily to offer prayers at their respective places of worship, which are located next to each other.

A steep spiral of steps took the worshippers to the gurdwara’s tiered prayer hall, where men and women must cover their heads before entering.

It was a special experience to hear Hindu chants and prayers being played in the hall below, especially during the aarti or lighting ceremony, at the same time as the Sikh kirtan in the prayer hall upstairs.

Source: The National

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