TROY, Mich. (AP) - It took seven years and $10 million to renovate and expand the Bharatiya Hindu Temple to accommodate the growing numbers of worshippers who have arrived in the Detroit area from India.
The temple in Troy, a northern Detroit suburb, has been enlarged from 28,000 square feet to about 70,000 square feet, The Detroit News reported Tuesday. Its prayer hall houses seven new interior temples that were made in India from marble that was mined there. Other parts of the building, including teak doors, were also built in India then transported to Detroit by ship and train. Local masons spent a year assembling the parts inside the Bharatiya Temple.
"It's like a Lego (set)," said Pravin Patel, chair of the committee organizing a temple dedication and five-day celebration that begins Wednesday. "All the parts were built in India and put together here. They worked day and night . long hours to put (the temples) together."
At least 25,000 Hindus live in the Detroit area and about 800 families worship at the Bharatiya Hindu Temple, said Tom Patel, chairman of the temple's board of trustees. Hinduism is the dominant religion in India.
"More people are joining and coming, and we needed more space to offer services," he said.
U.S. Census figures from 2005-2007 show that more than 36,000 foreign-born people from India lived in and around Detroit. About 1.8 million Hindus were believed to be living in the United States, according to a 2008 report by the Hindu American Foundation.
"This really is a dream come true," said Balarama Murty, a retired General Motors engineer and chair of the temple's long-range planning committee.
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