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New Sikh temple proposed for Telegraph Road in Bellingham

Site of Singh Sabha Gurdwara, the proposed Sikh temple at 591 Telegraph Road in Bellingham, as seen on Thursday, May 13, 2016.
Site of Singh Sabha Gurdwara, the proposed Sikh temple at 591 Telegraph Road in Bellingham, as seen on Thursday, May 13, 2016. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A two-story Sikh temple is being proposed for Telegraph Road in Bellingham.

The 16,000-square-foot temple would include a mezzanine, according to Ali Taysi, owner of AVT Consulting, who applied for permits on behalf of the temple.

The proposed temple at 591 Telegraph Road is named Singh Sabha Gurdwara.

The project will include 90 parking spaces, landscaping and street improvements to Telegraph Road.

There are two wetlands on the property, but the project isn’t expected to have a direct impact to either one, according to a notice sent out by the Bellingham Planning and Community Development Department.

The hope is to start construction in late August or September, according to Taysi, though it could be next year.

Charanjit Hundal, a member of the temple, said its construction would help meet the needs of the growing number of Sikhs in Bellingham as well as make for a shorter drive, including for seniors, than going to the temple on East Pole Road near Lynden.

The Sikh faith, which is a monotheistic religion, was founded at the turn of the 16th century by Guru Nanak in the Punjab region, which is now split between modern-day India and Pakistan, according to the nonprofit Pew Research Center.

Many Sikhs leave their hair uncut because it is seen as a gift from God. Sikhs wear turbans as instructed by one of their gurus to protect their hair, for social identity and unity, and to keep focused on their beliefs.

It is the fifth largest religion in the world.

The vast majority of Sikhs are in India, but there are also sizable communities in the United Kingdom, U.S. and Canada.

The World Religion Database estimated there were about 25 million Sikhs worldwide, according to Pew. Estimates of the number of Sikhs in the U.S. vary widely, from 200,000 to more than 500,000.

A neighborhood meeting on the project was held Sept. 24.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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