A Hindu temple in Toronto that cost $40 million to built, one of the largest initiative of its kind ever undertaken by the Indian Canadian community, is all set to open its gates to the general public.
The Swaminarayan Mandir to be inaugurated in Toronto on Sunday has been completed in 18 months without government funding by craftsmen who used 24,000 hunks of Italian marble and Turkish limestone.
It is also the first Hindu temple in Canada to be built according to ancient Indian Vedic principles. Most of the temple was carved using hammer and chisel by close to 2,000 craftsmen, 100 of them flown from India, the National Post reported.
The local Hindu community offered up about 400 devoted volunteers and footed the bill for much of the temple.
"It gives me a sense of pride, a reputation for first-generation Indian Canadians that we are integral members of this country," said activity co-ordinator Aarti Patel.
"In addition to Canadian winters, another major hurdle was convincing Toronto city officials that the temple, a completely steel-free structure, was sound engineering," said Naren Sachdev, project manager of construction.
Virtually every inch of the place is embellished with carved deities -- cavorting horses, peacocks, elephants, lotus flowers and vines -- each representing different Hindu virtues.
"For me to try and describe it in words is not possible. It is something one has to experience. When you do enter the temple, you will see how the whole atmosphere and ambiance creates that atmosphere within oneself," Sachdev added.