BLOOMINGTON — A local Hindu temple — a dream for more than three decades — is almost a reality.
The Hindu Temple of Bloomington-Normal was issued a permit last week for $700,000 worth of work at 1815 Tullamore Ave. The temple could be expanded as the group raises funds.
“The idea has been around for 35 years, but at that time when we thought about it … there were only about 100 families around of Indian origin in Bloomington-Normal. Now, of course, the population is over 5,000 or so,” said Ramesh Chaudhari, president of the temple organization.
Digging for the building’s foundation will begin next week and construction will take about 10 months.
“In India, there’s a temple on every block, just about,” Chaudhari said. “In Bloomington-Normal, there has not been a temple like this where everybody can come together.”
He said many worship in their homes or travel to Peoria or Chicago.
The main floor will have about 10,000 square feet, with an office, two classrooms, a library, kitchen, dining area and a shoe and coat room, according to site plans filed with the city.
A large room for worship or other events, such as lectures, will include a stage against one wall and a sanctum for deity idols.
A 52-space parking lot will be at the front of the temple, where an entrance canopy is planned. The building will have a mission-style tile roof and eventually a low steeple, according to plans.
Chaudhari said a committee has been working to bring the temple to fruition for about seven years. Funding for the project was raised through a grassroots campaign.
He said the original plans called for about 30 percent more space but the cost was too high.
“The vision is there but what will happen and when it will happen depends on how much people come forward to support it,” Chaudhari said of future expansion.
He said the Hindu religion allows for numerous gods and goddesses and the temple will have space for several deity idols.
The main hall will accommodate about 400 people.