GROTON -- At 99 Shirdi Way, what rises from the earth reaches for the sky.
The nearly completed England Shirdi Sai Parivaar (NESSP) Temple is slated to open Oct. 9, calling 5,000 area followers to the 40,000-square-foot building.
Its three shikhars (spires) stretch out above the surrounding forest to an imposing 60 feet.
NESSP, the largest Shirdi Sai temple in North America, received a temporary occupancy permit on Aug. 9, almost three years to the date of its Aug. 29, 2015, groundbreaking.
Marketing Director Srinivas Jidge said the new temple can actually accommodate as many as 7,800 worshippers across the two-story central area.
After acquiring the temporary occupancy permit -- good for 180 days -- from the town's building department.
The opening will set off a 12-day celebration, including consecration and worship of all the temple deities. The three golden-ceramic shikhars are but a small part of the structure.
The permit is heavily laden with stipulations, according to Takashi Tada, Groton conservation administrator. "They had to post a $500,000 performance bond to make sure they finish site work on the building's exterior," he said. "That includes drainage, slope, landscaping and parking."
Six months would seem like plenty of time to complete the work, Tada added. "But we want to be sure they don't just walk away from the project, leaving the town on the hook with an empty building."
But Srinivas Jidge, spokesman for the temple, insists that the work on the 28-acre spread will be completed.
The interior follows "Vastu Shastra," a Hindu system of harmonizing architecture with nature according to ancient Hindu rules of geometric symbolism in temple architecture.
Those design principles also include energy conservation through modern materials, coupled with strategic use of natural light and cross-ventilation.