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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 00:13 GMT 01:13 UK
Opening for biggest Hindu temple
Icons at Tividale's temple

The largest Hindu temple in Europe is opening in the West Midlands with a five-day religious festival.

From Wednesday priests are to perform a number of rituals to sanctify the 6.5m Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple of the UK in Tividale.

During five days more than 10,000 devotees are expected to visit the site, with most due at the weekend.

The temple's design is based on one of the holiest sites in the Hindu world, the Tirupati-Tirumala Temple in India.

Scores of sculptors and artisans from India have worked on the intricate carvings that cover the walls, ceilings, pillars and roof of the temple.

Dr VP Narayan Rao
This is the fulfilment of a long cherished dream,
Dr VP Narayan Rao, Trustees chairman

Bimal Kishna Das, the secretary of the National Council of Hindu Temples (UK), said: "This is great news for the Hindu British community.

"The opening of this great temple will be a wonderful addition to the multi-religious society of Britain, especially in the West Midlands."

Some 15 priests have also flown in from the sub-continent to perform ancient rituals in Sanskrit to call on the gods to enter the temple.

The culmination of the event will be the installation of a 12ft deity of Lord Krishna.

Dr VP Narayan Rao, the chairman of the trustees, said: "This is the fulfilment of a long cherished dream, the end of a long road and the beginning of a new era."

The temple has been built on the site of a former tip in Dudley Road East, which was donated by the then Black Country Development Corporation in 1987.

It has been funded by donations from devotees and with a grant from Millennium Commission.

In pictures: Tividale's temple
23 Aug 06 |  In Pictures
Temple rose from small beginnings
23 Aug 06 |  West Midlands


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