A HINDU temple in Bolton is putting the finishing touches to a £2.5 million redevelopment ahead of its grand reopening later this month.
Deane Road’s Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Temple has expanded its main hall and prayer room, as well as adding a car park, store rooms and activity facilities.
Work began at the temple — which took over a unitarian church building in 1998 — last September.
A number of dignitaries, including MPs David Crausby and Yasmin Qureshi, will be at the reopening on August 12.
Ganshyam Patel, chairman of the temple, said: “We’re calling it a reopening but we’ve never been completely shut. We’ve had to move things around the building work at various points but it’s more a way of celebrating our new facilities.”
Money for the building work came from donations and interest-free loans, according to Mr Patel, aged 58, from Great Lever.
He added that some new paintings — sent to the UK by the Soni family in India — are still to be added to the ceiling of the main prayer room over the coming months.
Mr Patel said: “More and more people were coming, so we needed to expand to put more activities on for people.
“Between 500 and 600 people are involved with the temple and about 150 will be here every weekend.
“We are involved in more than simply religious activities — we run three cricket teams, a football team, yoga classes, a Scottish pipe band and also offer language classes.
“To offer more things to more people, we needed more space.”
Mr Crausby and Ms Qureshi will be joined at the meeting by several councillors, the Bishop of Bolton, Chris Edmondson and mosque leaders.
The temple’s spiritual leader, 71-year-old His Holiness Shree Purshottampryadasjee Swamishree, from Ahmedabad, India, will attend the ceremony, having also travelled to Bolton in June to bless its main shrine after it moved position.
When the temple — which also raises cash for schools and feeding centres in India — started in Bolton in 1971, services were held for only a dozen or so people in a terraced house.
They moved to a house, now a hairdressers, opposite their Deane Road location before buying the church building in 1998.
The temple is named after Lord Swaminarayan, the central figure in the modern sect of Hinduism, which has the same name.
Hindus believe there is only one god but that he appeared on the earth at different times.
Lord Swaminarayan lived 225 years ago and was born in 1781.