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S Asia First 'official' Gurdwara In Dubai


1947-2014 (Archived)
Coming up at a cost of $20 million, the Guru Nanak Darbar at Jebel Ali, Dubai, will be the first official Sikh gurdwara in the entire Gulf, catering to religious needs of a 50,000-strong Sikh community. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, vice-president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai, who granted permission for building the gurdwara, has given 25,400 sq ft land free.

Surender Singh Kandhari, businessman and Captain of Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, had approached authorities with his dream project and though it took him some time to convince them about the concepts of sangat and langar, while even translating excerpts from the Guru Grant Sahib, it was approved.

"Sikhs don’t worship idols like in Islam and once authorities were convinced that setting up a gurdwara was not anti-Islamic, things quickly started falling in place. My dream is to make Guru Nanak Durbar the best, second only to the Golden Temple in Amritsar," adds Kandhari.

With a 1,25,000 sq ft built-up area, the shrine has three basements, a ground floor and terrace floor. The langar hall can serve more than 600 people at a time. There is a 54-m water body, inspired by the sarovar at the Golden Temple, and a cascade. The main prayer hall, on the top with Palki Sahib, has a 7.2 m-high ceiling and an 18-m diametre dome roof. The function hall can accommodate up to 900 people. "We are seeking funds from Sikhs all over the world," says Kandhari.

Dubai-based architect firm Holford Associates has designed the gurdwara and it is supported by Richard Adams from UK, who was involved with the Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara on Havelock Road in Southall, London.

First 'official' gurdwara in Dubai - Chandigarh - City - The Times of India