Work began on Sunday on a Hindu temple in Berlin, set to be the second largest in Europe when completed in 2009.
Several priests attended the groundbreaking ceremony on land provided rent-free by the local authority, watched by hundreds of Indians and Heinz Buschkowsky, mayor of the city district.
The Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple, with space for 300 worshippers, will only be outclassed in Europe by the Shri Venkateswara temple near Birmingham, England that opened in August, 2006.
There is only one other Hindu temple in Germany at present.
The site, in a corner of the 84-hectare Hasenheide park, is located in Neukoelln, a working-class suburb with a large immigrant population and widespread unemployment. Public officials hope it will help reduce racial tension.
The Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple Committee was the driving force behind efforts to provide a suitable place of worship for Berlin's 6,000 Hindus. The site will be dedicated to the elephant-headed deity Ganesha.
The Berlin building, costing 850,000 euros ($1.12 million), will be financed almost exclusively by donations, according to the temple trustees.
In addition to daily prayers and religious services, the temple will be used for weddings and birthday celebrations. Yoga and meditation courses will also be offered.