Bosses at Europe’s biggest Hindu temple in Tividale will extend their complex under a £500,000 project to create a building for a special ceremony for infants.
Leaders at the Shri Venkateswara Balaji temple on Dudley Road East have applied to build a Yagashala Building for the special ceremony to introduce babies to the faith. The ceremony is much like a baptism.
The planning application is the latest phase in the development of the temple on the reclaimed former foundry site.
Bosses at the temple currently undertake the Yagashala ceremony within the existing buildings. However, the temple leaders always planned to build a specific building to cater for the religious ritual.
The report to council planners states: “The design of the Yagashala building has been developed to be in keeping with the surrounding shrine buildings, which have been constructed on the 21.5 acre site.”
It adds: “The Yagashala building will, therefore, be a simple, low-profile building to be sited to the north of the site and positioned at the foot of a natural embankment.”
Leo O’Toole, manager at the temple said: “This is a unique building because it is going to involve and incorporate the latest technology and ecosystems in heating and maintenance.
“It will draw its heating from underground using the latest technology and will also be using solar panels so it will be self-sustaining.”
Mr O’Toole said the building will allow priests to perform three different religious services at one time, known as Homams. “This is a very special Hindu ritual that involves the lighting of fires and the lighting of wood. There is not other temple like this in the whole of the UK or Europe.
“We estimate for the completed building it will cost £500,000 and the temple is in the process of raising funds to pay for the project through donations and contributions from devotees and other organisations across the UK.”
Mr O’Toole added: “This is a most important venture and will make the area a special place, not just for the Hindu faith, but other faiths.”
Planning documents state the single-storey building would have a rendered exterior which will match the other buildings and will have a simple, low-profile concrete roof.
The new building is not expected to generate additional visitors, as its function is already undertaken in the main building.