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Fact Check

Govt Handles Falsely Claim Abu Dhabi BAPS Mandir Is UAE's First Temple

Several other Hindu temples had already existed in UAE's Dubai before the inauguration of the BAPS temple.

By - Archis Chowdhury | 19 Feb 2024 11:12 AM GMT

The Indian Ministry of Culture falsely claimed that the newly inaugurated BAPS temple in the United Arab Emirates' Abu Dhabi was the first temple to be built in the country. This false claim was further shared by several Union Ministers and mainstream media outlets.

BOOM found that several other Hindu temples had already existed in UAE's Dubai before the inauguration of the BAPS temple in Abu Dhabi.

The claim went viral in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Abu Dhabi for the consecration ceremony of the newly built BAPS temple. Soon after his visit, the official handles of the Ministry of Culture, and citizen engagement platform MyGov shared promotional video from the ceremony with a caption that claimed that it was UAE's first temple. 


The same claim was shared by Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, and the office of Union Minister Smriti Irani.

Several mainstream media outlets also reported the false claim as real. This includes Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Mint, Mirror Now, India Times, WION, Times of India, Firstpost, RT, PTI, Republic, SwarajyaMag, and DNA.

Fact Check

BOOM did a keyword search with "temples in UAE" and came across several results that indicate other temples being built in UAE long before the inauguration of the Abu Dhabi BAPS temple.

Looking through the search results, we found several references to a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and Krishna, built in 1958. According to the website of the temple, it was the first Hindu temple to be built in UAE.

An excerpt from the website reads:

"In the year 1958, HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum granted the land next to Mosque. Later in the year 1997, the Temple was refurbished again to give it a proper Haveli look. The same exists until today. Shri Krishna Temple (Shrinathji Haveli) is the first Temple in the UAE."

The Shrinathji Haveli temple is also mentioned on the website of UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which highlights that the temple was built in 1958. An excerpt from the website reads:

"Hindus have lived in the UAE for decades, with the first Hindu temple in Dubai built as early as 1958. Roughly 6.6 percent of the UAE population practices Hinduism. Two Hindu temples now operate in Dubai, and several cremation facilities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah provide Hindu burial rites."

An article by Gulf News from 2015 highlights that the temple is called 'Haveli' by locals, and reports that it was built in 1902, with a second temple being built adjacent to it in 1958.

Furthermore, we also found evidence of another temple in Dubai's Jebel Ali, which was inaugurated in 2022. This event was widely reported by news outlets such as Indian Express, ANI and the Hindustan Times.

The Quint's fact-check team also reached out to the BAPS temple over email, to which their press team confirmed that it was "NOT the first mandir in the UAE".