The site of one of the biggest temple complexes ever built in India resembles a scene out of ancient Egypt, as more than 7,000 stonemasons and polishers work around the clock to prepare for its opening next month. Backers of the Akshardham Hindu temple complex being built on the banks of the sacred Yamuna River just outside New Delhi say it will rival the Great Pyramid at Giza. A host of celebrities and world figures such as former presidents Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton have been invited to the opening. The massive pink sandstone and white marble complex rises up on a 12.1-hectare plot, dwarfing everything in the vicinity. Supposedly built to last 1,000 years, the complex boasts a gigantic central monument built from 10,000 tonnes of sandstone and marble transported from Rajasthan. Most of the pieces were cut and carved by craftsmen in Rajasthan and then brought to the site to be assembled. Topped with a series of domes, the monument is 39 metres high, 84 metres wide and 96 metres long, and is decorated with carvings of Hindu deities and Indian flora and fauna, including giant elephants. The temple complex is the brainchild of the head of the Swaminarayan Trust, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, 84, whose followers are dotted all over the world, particularly in the UK where many wealthy Asians are big donors. It is believed that steel baron Lakshmi Mittal - Britain's richest man - has contributed to the complex. Security at the site is tight and cameras are not allowed, as saffron-robed monks wander around the complex supervising the final details. 'Swamiji has been involved in every single decision. He has taken an active interest in every detail,' said a volunteer in a tone of reverence for the swami who, to remain 'pure', avoids looking at women or young girls. A trust spokesman refused to give a figure for how much the temple would cost. 'It's impossible to place an accurate price on it because so much of the labour has been carried out by volunteers,' said a volunteer who gave up his job as an accountant a year ago to help with the project. Besides the central monument, the complex has two big exhibition halls. An earlier idea to turn the complex into a religious theme park was rejected, but one exhibition hall will offer a Disney-inspired boat ride taking visitors on a visual journey through India's past. Other features include an Imax cinema that can seat 600 people and a fast food restaurant capable of feeding 5,000 people in one sitting, a research centre for 'social harmony' and meditation gardens dotted with fountains and bronze sculptures. The complex will be able to handle 8,000 visitors at a time. A sister temple owned by the sect in the western state of Gujarat was attacked by Islamic terrorists in 2002, resulting in more than 30 deaths.