Abu Dhabi's first Hindu stone temple to open for public on March 1

News Network
February 27, 2024

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Abu Dhabi, Feb 27: The first Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month, will be opened to the public from March 1, according to the temple authorities.

The temple has been built by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Swaminarayan Sanstha on a 27-acre site in Abu Mureikhah, near Al Rahba off the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway, at a cost of around Rs 700 crore.

The grand temple was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on February 14 during a dedication ceremony attended by over 5,000 invitees. From February 15 to 29, overseas devotees who had registered in advance or VIP guests were allowed to visit the temple.

“The temple will be open to the public from March 1 from 9 AM to 8 PM. The temple will remain closed for visitors every Monday,” a temple spokesperson said.

Constructed with 18 lakh bricks and 1.8 lakh cubic metres of sandstone sourced directly from Rajasthan, the temple has been made in the Nagara style of architecture, just like the recently inaugurated Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

According to the temple authorities, the grand temple has been built as per an ancient style of construction and creation mentioned in the Shilpa and Sthapathya Shastras, Hindu scriptures which describe the art for mandir design and construction.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has at least 3.5 million Indians who are part of the Indian workforce in the Gulf. The land for the temple was donated by the UAE government.

The BAPS Hindu Mandir is the largest in the entire Gulf region. The UAE has three other Hindu temples in Dubai.

Seven spires representing the seven Emirates of the UAE, carvings of camels, and national bird falcon, are part of the architecture of the stone temple, to give equal representation to the host country.

“The seven spires have idols of deities, including Lord Ram, Lord Shiv, Lord Jagannath, Lord Krishna, Lord Swaminarayan (considered a reincarnation of Lord Krishna), Tirupati Balaji and Lord Ayappa. The seven shikhars represent the seven Emirates of the UAE,” Swami Brahmaviharidas, head of international relations for BAPS, had told PTI.

To give equal representation to the host country, along with animals like elephants, camels and lions that occupy an important place in Indian mythology, the UAE’s national bird, the falcon, has also been included in the temple design.

Apart from 15 tales from India, including the Ramayana and Mahabharata, stories from Mayan, Aztec, Egyptian, Arabic, European, Chinese and African civilisations have also been depicted in the temple.

While the outer walls of the temple are made using sandstone from India, the interior, made of white Italian marble, is adorned with intricately designed and carved columns and walls.

Other noteworthy architectural elements include two ghumats (domes), 12 samrans (dome-like structures) and 402 pillars. The two ghumats are the “Dome of Peace” and “Dome of Harmony”.
On the two sides of the temple, holy water flows from Ganga and Yamuna, which was brought from India in huge containers.

The temple’s facade features exquisite marble carvings set against a sandstone backdrop, crafted from more than 25,000 pieces of stone by skilled artisans from Rajasthan and Gujarat. A substantial number of pink sandstone were transported from northern Rajasthan to Abu Dhabi for the temple.

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News Network
April 13,2024

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New Delhi, May 13: Warmongering Israel is bracing for a potential direct attack by Iran as warnings grow of retaliation for the provocative killing last week of a senior officer in Iran's embassy in Damascus. US and other intelligence assessments have said the retaliation could come as soon as Sunday. The unprecedented attack could trigger an all-out regional war.

US President Joe Biden has also warned Israel that he expects a strike from Iran soon, but has warned the clerical state not to attack.

"I don't want to get into secure information but my expectation is sooner than later," Biden told reporters after an event.

Asked what his message was to Iran on striking Israel, Biden said, "Don't."

An assault from Iranian soil has emerged as one of the main scenarios expected by the Jewish state and its allies, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. A bombardment with drones and precision missiles could come within the next 24 hours, the reports said citing people familiar with the matter.

Any Iranian attack on Israel would likely be a combination of missiles and drones, based on current capabilities outlined in a new Defense Intelligence Agency Worldwide Threat assessment released late Thursday.

The regime "has a substantial inventory of ballistic and cruise missiles capable of striking targets as far as 2,000 kilometers from its borders," the agency said.

The US has rushed additional military assets to protect Israel and American forces in the region. The country has moved two Navy destroyers to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to a Navy official. One is the USS Carney, which was recently in the Red Sea performing air defence against Houthi drones and anti-ship missiles.

America has also doubled down its diplomatic efforts to rein in hostilities in the region, which has been on the edge since Israel launched a mega offensive on Palestine to destroy the militant organisation Hamas.

US officials have been working to send messages to Iran, including through an established Swiss channel, while talking to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other governments. Biden has also sent the head of US Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, to Israel for urgent talks on the threat from Iran.

The 'shadow war' between the two Middle Eastern countries heated up when an Israeli airstrike hit the Iran consulate in Damascus, killing seven people, including two generals. Iran immediately issued a statement saying that it is prepared for war and will deliver a "slap" to Israel.

Israel has been on alert since then, canceling home leave for combat troops, calling up reserves, and bolstering air defenses. Its military scrambled navigational signals over Tel Aviv on Thursday to disrupt GPS-navigated drones or missiles that might be fired at the country.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Bengaluru, Apr 11: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the party's unit in Karnataka have highlighted the statement of Class 12 Board exam topper from the state, Vedant Navi, and claimed that "it was a matter of pride as their schemes were bringing effective social and economic changes".

The Congress on Thursday launched a social media campaign by releasing posters and short videos.

Rahul Gandhi in his social media post said, “Such 'Success Stories' make me believe and ensure that our 'Mahalakshmi' guarantee of putting Rs 1 lac every year in women's accounts will prove to be a revolutionary step to shaping the country's fate.”

“Congress's Gruha Lakshmi scheme going on in Karnataka under which more than 1 crore women get Rs 2,000 every month, using the same money a mother taught her son Vedant and he got second rank in the whole state in PUC exam,” Rahul Gandhi stated.

“Vedant's story is a living example of Indian women's penance and willpower to strengthen the house with pai-pai. Imagine, when women of poor families across the country will get Rs 1 lakh every year through the 'Mahalakshmi Yojana', how many Vedantas will change the future of the family with their talent? This historic plan of Congress will give the dreams of poor families a flight into reality,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The Congress in Karnataka said the schemes of the government were giving succour to the people. “It is a matter of pride that in a span of 10 months, our government’s schemes are bringing effective social and economic changes,” the party claimed.

“It is a testimony to the success of the Gruha Lakshmi scheme that the family of Vedant, who secured first rank in the Arts stream, was supported by the money provided by the Gruha Lakshmi scheme. Our schemes have brought changes in many people’s lives. The Congress party has built the lives of the people and thereby built the nation,” the Congress stated.

Vedant Navi had secured first rank in Arts Stream in Karnataka. He is the overall second-topper.

“My father is no more. My mother faced difficulties as the family was debt-ridden. In this crunch time, the money received through the Gruha Lakshmi scheme (Rs 2,000 every month given for women heads of family) helped my studies and hostel stay and other expenditures,” Vedant had stated.

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News Network
April 7,2024

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Israel's relentless aggression against the Gaza Strip has now stretched over six months, and shows no sign of abating despite international calls for a ceasefire.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of violence against Palestinians.

At that time, the Israeli regime said attacking Gaza had two goals: eliminating Hamas and bringing back the hostages taken by the resistance group to Gaza. None of them have been achieved so far.

About 130 of the 250 Israeli captives taken during Operation Al-Aqsa Storm are still in Gaza after a provisional truce deal in December saw the exchange of a number of prisoners between the two sides.

Death toll

The conflict in Gaza has taken a devastating toll on Palestinians, with over 33,200 people, including 13,800 children, having lost their lives in 180 days of war, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

On top of that, around 76,000 people have been wounded – about four out of every 100 people in Gaza. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said this week some 1,000 children in Gaza have lost one or both of their legs.

A record-breaking 176 UN staff members and seven foreign aid workers have been killed in Gaza since October 7.

The Israeli army has killed the largest number of journalists of any modern conflict and detained more than 24. More than 140 journalists have been killed during the six months of war in the Israeli military's raids, bombardments and missile attacks across the Gaza Strip.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza has worsened day by day as the Israeli army continues to prevent aid from reaching the region, resulting in starvation being utilized as a tactic of warfare as over a million are at risk of starvation, with international groups warning of an “imminent” famine.

At least 27 Palestinians have already died from malnutrition and dehydration, according to international NGOs.

Displacement

More than 80 percent of Gaza’s population (Over 1.9 million Palestinians) have been intentionally displaced as the Israeli military ordered Palestinians to “go south” from the start of the war.

Some 1.4 million people are believed to be sheltering in Rafah, a small city on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt which is being bombarded by the Israeli forces every day as they have left no safe zone for the Palestinians to live.

Infrastructure damage

The estimated $18.5 billion in damage has affected public service infrastructure, resulting in 26 million tons of debris and rubble.

Over 290,000 housing units, equivalent to 62 percent of all homes in Gaza, have been damaged or destroyed by the war, leaving more than a million people homeless.

Only a fraction of hospitals, 10 out of 36, are operational following severe damage, leading to overwhelming strain on their limited resources.

Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, has been left severely damaged and burned after enduring a relentless two-week-long siege. The compound, which witnessed the loss of at least 400 lives and the arrest of hundreds, now faces a dire situation.

With an acute shortage of medicine and healthcare professionals on the brink of exhaustion and starvation, the majority of patients in Gaza are unable to receive the treatment they desperately need.

The scarcity of resources has forced medical teams to carry out operations and amputations without the availability of anesthetic, further exacerbating the already dire circumstances.

Political resolutions

On March 6, South Africa filed an “urgent request” with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and requested for additional provisional measures issued on January 26.

In January, the ICJ ordered Israel to refrain from any acts that could fall under the Genocide Convention and ensure its troops commit no genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza. Israel described the genocide allegation as baseless.

On Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution, calling for a halt to all arms sales to Israel, and for the regime to be held accountable for possible war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution last month, demanding an “immediate ceasefire” for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The resolution is the first to be approved by the council after three previous attempts during the past five months of war were vetoed by the US.

Meanwhile, during the months of war, protests around the world have been held in support of Palestine, calling for an immediate ceasefire and halt to arms sales to Israel.

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