Jeddah: A sea of devotees thronged the only temple in Dubai on Friday morning to offer prayers on Mahashivarathri. Thousands of Telugu NRIs, along with other Indians, celebrated the festival, which kicked off a long weekend and added to the festive fervour.
The Shiva Mandir in Burj reverberated with the chants of ‘Hara Hara Mahadeva’, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and also ‘Jai Sri Ram’. Some thousands of devotees joined long queues from Thursday night itself as narrow roads in the busiest commercial area of Dubai — which lead to Haveli, also known as Shiv Mandir – got jam-packed, eyewitnesses said.
“Over three lakh devotees offered prayers in a single day,” K Nageshwar Rao, who looks after the prasadam distribution at the temple, told Telangana Today over phone. There was a 3-km-long queue of devotees around the temple, he said.
He said besides a battery of dedicated volunteers, the Dubai Police also made elaborate arrangements for the festival. “I was in queue for four hours to get darshan,” Sriram Venugopal Reddy, a long-time resident of Dubai, said. It was a thrilling experience to do puja on Mahashivarathri in Dubai, said Sharat Reddy of Hyderabad who lives in Kuwait. He happened to visit Dubai for a business meeting.
Shiva Mandir, the only Hindu temple in the UAE, is located at Souq Al Banian. It was set up by trading communities from Sindh and Gujarat in 1958 with permission of then ruler Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum, father of the present ruler.