Thousands of people are expected to attend the official opening ceremony of the biggest Hindu temple in Europe later this month.

The £6.5 million Shri Benkadeshwari Balaji temple in Dudley Road, Tividale, Sandwell, took nine years to complete and was designed in the same style as the famous south Indian Tirupati temple.

It has been built on 13-and-a-half acres of former waste land and dedicated to the god Vishnu.

A blessing ceremony for the site will take place from August 23 to 27 and more than 10,000 people, including 24 Hindu priests from India, are expected to attend.

Funds to build the temple, two community halls and three shrines came from private donations and a Millennium Fund grant.

Dr Narayan Rao, the chairman of the temple's trustees, said: "This is the fulfilment of a long cherished dream, the end of a long road, and the beginning of a new era, not just for those most closely involved with the temple project but for every Hindu in the world."

Fellow trustee Dr Kandiah Somasundararajah said the traditional carvings and designs of ancient Hindu gods and goddesses on walls, pillars and ceilings, had been carefully crafted by Indian artists.

He said: "All the artwork and woodwork was completed by these craftsmen. Three hundred workmen worked absolutely non-stop for two years to complete the intricate woodwork for the temple's pillars."

The temple itself was built with traditional Indian temple materials including granite, marble and wood.