GROTON, MASSACHUSETTS, October 15, 2018 (Lowell Sun): Banana bunches and other fruits welcome worshippers at the entrance as they ascend a tall flight of steps to the main hall -- representing the people's rite of passage from the earthly to the divine world. Inside the new 40,000-square-foot, two-floor temple, they see a familiar sight in the lobby: Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Deity, the remover of obstacles, draped in flowers. The new Hindu temple becomes a holy place as worshippers perform the inauguration rituals at the largest Shirdi Sai temple in North America, highlighted by its three golden-ceramic spires.
Thousands of worshippers on Sunday descended upon New England Shirdi Sai Parivaar Temple in Groton for the opening celebration, including consecration and worship of all the temple Deities. It's dedicated to the late 19th-century Indian spiritual saint Sai Baba of Shirdi. When the temple first formed in 2006, there were 40 families. Now, there are 5,000. The new temple can accommodate as many as 7,800 worshippers across the two-story central area. The groundbreaking took place in August 2015. After three years of extensive design, planning and construction, the temple is officially open with this 12-day celebration.