The stone for the project was shipped piece by piece from India, where craftsmen had sculptured it into more than 500 designs including rosettes, leaves, feathers and lacy geometric patterns. The thousands of sections, ranging from five ounces to five tons, each with its own bar code, have been assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle based on instructions for religious buildings written into scripture thousands of years old.
Although the engineers said they had not counted the number of pieces they used, a mandir in London that served as a model for the Lilburn building required more than 26,000 individual parts.
The price tag for the project, $19 million, has been kept down by the thousands of hours of volunteer labor donated by congregants of the BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Clarkston, Ga., who will move from a converted skating rink when the temple is completed in August. For more than two years homemakers and retirees have been polishing the stonework by hand and cooking for the construction workers. Hundreds of volunteers installed more than 50,000 plants for the landscaping.