A Hindu temple is to open its doors in Preston after a £750,000 renovation.
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir will open this weekend amid a two-day celebration, including a procession through the city and a special ceremony at the temple off Gerrard Street.
The mandir has been transformed from a cold, damp warehouse into a temple and community centre, and civic leaders will join the celebrations of the grand opening.
Kailash Parekh, devotee of the mandir and volunteer, said: “We had our old premises in a synagogue in Avenham from 1984 to 2010 and then we found new premises in an old warehouse.
“We were using it for three or four years until we raised enough to be able to renovate it into a new building.
“It was just a warehouse, cold, damp with not many facilities, but we persevered and through the power of volunteers we’ve been fundraising through sponsored walks, cooking, different types of activities to raise the funds to be able to help with the renovations.
“It’s been hard work, but it’s been worth it.”
The temple has a new kitchen and dining area, as well as a prayer hall and congregation room and also a room dedicated to selling home made food.
Kailash said: “I was absolutely amazed when I walked in, I thought ‘am I in the same building?’
“I couldn’t believe it and when I saw the gold shrine, it took my breath away.”
On Saturday, idols made of marble will be taken on a tour around Preston in the procession, and will be put into the temple on Sunday.
Kailash said: “It’s going to be an asset for everybody. We want to work with all the different communities.
“We are really proud.”