Tirupati-style temple opened near Birmingham

The largest Hindu temple in Europe is being opened for a five-day religious festival in Tividale.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2006 16:25 IST

The largest Hindu temple in Europe based on the architecture of the Tirupati Tirumala temple is being opened during a five-day religious festival in Tividale, near Birmingham.

More than 10,000 devotees are expected to attend a number of rituals scheduled to sanctify the Sri Venkateswara (Balaji) temple. Several sculptors and artisans have worked on intricate carvings in and around the temple.

Several priests have flown in from India to perform the rituals in Sanskrit. The five-day event will culminate in the installation of a 12-foot idol of Lord Krishna.

The temple's construction is reported to have cost£6.5 million. The funds were provided by donations from devotees and a grant from the Millennium Commission. The temple has been built on a site donated in 1987 by the then Black Country Development Corporation.

Bimal Kishna Das, the secretary of the National Council of Hindu Temples (Britain), told the BBC: "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."

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."

One of the temple founders, K Somasundara Rajah, said: "We used to have the use of another temple but then the congregation got bigger and in 1974 some in our group thought we should get our own temple. We said we should build a replica of the Tirupati Temple in South India."

First Published: Aug 24, 2006 13:45 IST