Hindu community searches for site for first-ever temple in Bath
Friday, March 01, 2013LJGillespieFollow
The hunt is on to find a suitable location for Bath’s first Hindu temple.
The B&NES Faith Forum is launching a campaign to open the city’s first ever temple following years of requests from Bath’s Hindu community.
There are estimated to be 400 followers of the religion in the Bath area but members have had to hold events and festivals in back gardens and homes because of a lack of a venue. Last November a celebration to mark Diwali, the Indian festival of light, was held at Bath City Football Club at Twerton.
Bath resident and member of the Faith Forum, Ashish Rajhansha, said it was time Hindus in the city had their own place of worship.
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He said: “For a long time, we have travelled to the temple in Bristol, which is the only one of its kind in the region. With a growing population, and the increasing desire for diverse faith activities across the country, we are keen for our home city to have its own Hindu temple.
“We have been very grateful for the interest and support we have received at our events in the past, and now want to provide a chance for even more people to find out about Hindu culture and belief.”
His wife, Susmita, also sits on the forum, added: “A temple for a Hindu is just like a church for a Christian. It provides a central focus, belonging and grounding in the community.
“The specifications for a temple are very basic. It’s a place to worship God and carry out rituals – just like in a church. Once the temple has been set up, it must remain a temple until it is no longer required to be one.”
Councillor Nathan Hartley (Lib Dem, Peasedown), who is B&NES Council’s representative on the forum, is giving the search for a suitable venue his support.
Mr Hartley said: “Bath and north east Somerset, just like the rest of the UK, is multi-faith and is home to people from a variety of backgrounds. It’s for this reason that we should do everything we can to promote religious and cultural freedom.
“Christians and Muslims have opportunities for collective worship, we now need to open this up for our Hindu friends.
“I’ve come to make some great friends in the local Hindu community, and am determined to find a building for a new temple.”