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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 01:04 GMT 02:04 UK
In pictures: Life at the temple
Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple
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Built in central England, the Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple hopes to attract Hindu worshippers from all over the UK and even Europe. It is likely to have cost 7.5m, with the first stage completed next year.
Carvers at temple
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A team of stone masons from Tamil Nadu are on site, spending as long as two weeks hand-carving each granite block. Many of the team have years of experience carving for temples.
Carving
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With the temple not yet fully open, many of the intricate carvings have been stored away in closed areas.
Detail from the temple roof
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Many of the carvings for the temple's roof have already been put in place, even though building work is continuing. The standard of carvings here is as high as in the main areas, although few will ever see them.
Temple manager Dr Praveen Kumar
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Temple staff have been subjected to some racist abuse, particularly when they are mistaken for Muslims, says manager Dr Praveen Kumar. "It started with 9/11, it's not just the recent bombings," he says.
Temple priest
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The biggest challenge facing the temple is that of finding traditionally trained priests to perform the complex rituals in honour of its deities. The government says they must speak basic English.
Dr Narayan Rao at a ceremony
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Temple chairman Dr Narayan Rao (left) has raised the issue of finding priests with ministers. He has been working towards building the temple since the 1970s.
Temple deity
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The temple is the first in Europe for the Hindu deity Lord Venkateswara. But once completed it will also have areas set aside for other religions, in the hope it will encourage others to visit.




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