KOCHVILLE TWP. (WWJ/AP) – Construction has begun on Michigan’s northernmost Hindu temple, and it comes on the heels of other temple building projects in the state.

Groundwork on the future site of the Tri-City Hindu Temple is underway in Saginaw County’s Kochville Township. The temple, expected to open in about eight months, plans to will about 300 families in the Saginaw, Bay City and Midland areas.

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Plans call for an 8,000-square-foot building that includes a prayer hall and multipurpose room. The building will have steeple-like towers reminiscent of Indian temples.

Officials say people now drive 50 to 100 miles to the nearest temple in Flint. Tri-Cities Temple Corp. President K.P. Karunakaran said it’s an easily accessible central location for those families.

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It follows two major projects in the Detroit area: The Sri Venkateswara Temple and Cultural Center in Novi, which officially opened last Sunday. Troy’s Bharatiya Hindu Temple completed a renovation and expansion last year that more than doubled its size. Other Hindu centers have opened in recent years in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas.

Padma Kuppa of Troy, a board member of the Hindu American Foundation, said the activity reflects growing diversity within the Hindu community as well as the state.

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