Bahrain will become the second country in the Middle East where the Hindu domination Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) will have a traditional temple of their own, following the construction in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. They also have centres in other Gulf states.
News of the announcement was made yesterday on Twitter by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who spoke to Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the Supreme Commander and prime minister of the kingdom.
"Had a warm conversation with HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Bahrain. Thanked him for the Kingdom's attention to the needs of the Indian community, including recent decision on land allotment for the Swaminarayan temple," Modi revealed.
We thank PM Shri Narendra Modi & HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa for their historic decision to grant land for BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir. Let us together create a place of harmony, peace and service in Bahrain. @narendramodi @BahrainCPNews pic.twitter.com/izjlrR9rOi
— BAPS (@BAPS) February 1, 2022
In response to Modi's announcement, the official account of BAPS expressed gratitude to both the Bahraini and Indian leadership for the move.
The sect's religious leader HH Mahant Swami Maharaj has also met with Bahrain's King Hamad and Prince Salman on previous occasions and is currently overseeing the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, which is expected to be completed by late 2023 and will be the country's first traditional Hindu temple built of stone. Separately, a new Hindu temple is being constructed in Dubai's Jebel Ali to be inaugurated in May this year and is adjacent to the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara of the Sikh faith.
Although its roots date back farther, the BAPS sect was formally established in 1907 in Gujarat, India and has over one million devotees around the world. Late last year, the organisation was accused of using forced labour at temples across the US, with hundreds of low-caste workers from India exploited, according to the FBI who raided a New Jersey temple in May.
Note: This page was updated at 13:50 BST on February 03, 2022. An earlier version of this page incorrectly stated that 'Brahmavihari Swami was the religious leader of BAPS' instead of 'HH Mahant Swami Maharaj'.