Auckland's third new Hindu temple this year will open in Henderson next month.
Shri Ram Mandir, a $5 million structure behind industrial buildings in Brick St off Swanson Rd, claims to be Australasia's biggest temple devoted to the Lord Rama. The structure is 2000sq m over three levels, rising to a 24m-high dome.
The marble domes, deities, elephants, doors and 12 wall panels depicting scenes from Hindu scriptures have been imported from India, along with skilled workers who installed them.
Two priests and their families have also been recruited from India and will live in a house next to the temple.
The opening, in ceremonies that will run for a week from June 6-13, follows the opening of smaller Hindu temples at Beach Haven on the North Shore last month and in Tidal Rd, Mangere, on May 3.
Community worker Pravin Patel said there were now 17 Hindu temples across Auckland. The city's Hindu adherents increased by more than any other religion between the 2006 and 2013 censuses, from 45,324 to 61,458, and are now 4.3 per cent of all Aucklanders.
Shri Ram Mandir trustee Shiu Charan said the new temple would cater for up to 500 people in the upstairs main temple and 400 in a ground-floor community centre, which will be open to Hindus and non-Hindus.
The Trusts Charitable Trust, Lottery Grants Board and Foundation North (formerly ASB Community Trust) contributed small amounts adding up to less than 5 per cent of the project's total cost, or about $200,000.
The rest of the $5 million has been raised from the local Hindu community, including a donor who gave $1 million to buy the land.
Mr Charan, a retired general secretary of Fiji's National Federation Party, said the temple's charitable trust planned to run youth programmes, religious education and cultural events.
"We would like to supplement and augment the work of other voluntary organisations and government organisations dealing with community-based programmes and social problems that we have in our society ... ," he said.
Trust administrator Umesh Chand said the opening ceremonies would include mixing water brought from seven shrines in India, seven rivers in Fiji and five lakes and rivers in New Zealand. A cherry-picker will lift the mixed water into an urn on top of the dome.
For more information go to shrirammandir.org.nz