FLINT TOWNSHIP, Michigan — There are gods here.
Exactly 126 of them. Cast permanently in concrete in a new, 65-foot temple and staring out in four directions.
Completion of the new temple at Paschima Kasi Sri Viswanatha Temple in Flint Township happened in January. The construction of the temple, which sits outside the main worship area, completes the yearslong vision for the property, said Hanuman Marur, president of the temple. Construction of the temple took more than a year.
Temples are sacred and important structures in Hinduism, and the new temple is similar to the type found in India, Marur told The Flint Journal ( http://bit.ly/1KstMFl ).
"When people come here, they should get a feeling of a temple," he said.
The temple will be used for special worship occasions and ceremonies. The main worship area will continue to be in the original temple building.
The new building is made of concrete and white limestone block. The roughly half-million dollar structure was funded by contributions from dozens of donors.
The Paschima Kasi Sri Viswanatha Temple is the only Hindu Temple in Genesee County and one of more than a dozen in Michigan, with several in the metro Detroit region.
About 7,000 of the white limestone blocks were shipped from Canada. Set into the towering structure are the carvings of the gods. In Hinduism, God may be represented as one of many different forms, called deities.
The 126 gods represented on the new temple were sculpted out of white concrete by two craftsmen from India who spent more than a year living at the temple and working on it.
"The temple is God's home," Marur said.
Directly east of the temple are two life-sized white-concrete sculptures of elephants, a sacred animal in the religion.
Marur said he hopes others come see the new temple and share in its beauty. Anyone in the community — even those not familiar with the Hindu faith — can schedule a visit, he said.
Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.mlive.com/flint