• Thursday, September 29, 2022

News

UK’s newest Hindu temple officially opens in Oldham

The Shree Swaminarayan Mandir cost £7 million with the local Hindu community donating all the funds.

The new Hindu temple in Oldham, the UK. (Picture: Twitter account of Claire Hannah, handle @Claire_journo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Britain’s newest Hindu temple has been officially opened and it is located in Oldham in Greater Manchester.

The Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, which cost £7 million with the local Hindu community donating all the funds, features an entranced gate which is hand-carved in marble that has been imported from India.

Construction for the temple started in 2019 after the local community arranged for the funds and volunteers came forward to help with the structure’s construction. The construction work started with a special brick-laying ceremony but work was delayed until 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Contractors were roped in to build the initial shell but once it was completed, the local Hindus took over the work in September last year, ITV reported.

Thereafter, the entire temple project has been managed by the volunteers, including men and women, who have worked all day a week to complete the structure and the community centre. Current and former residents of Oldham also came forward and items such as windows, doors and floorings were donated, the report added.

The original temple — an old church — was bought in the late 1970s for £6,000. It is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year and the local community said the completion of the new state-of-the-art temple also commemorated that milestone of history.

Hitesh Bhuda, the temple’s president, told ITV, “It is a unique building. It’s one of the best in Oldham. A lot of effort and a lot of work from volunteers have gone in from the last three years. Work started in 2020 and a lot of volunteers have come here to help.

“The temple is welcome to the whole community. People of all religions are welcome to come and have a look.”

Neesha Kara, a youth leader, told the channel, “I have no words. Two years ago this was just land and to see it like it is today, it is amazing.

“I think it is so important that the temple is open to the whole community. We are getting everybody involved, not just Hindus. Everyone is welcome. For the elderly members and the younger members of the community there is so much to do. We’ve got a sports hall for the kids and garden space for elders.”

Anil Kara, a volunteer, told BBC, “Lot of hard work has gone into completing this temple. Since September, it is a volunteer-led kind of a build. We have had kind of 100 people most weekends travelling from around the whole of the UK to kind of complete this so there’s a lot of hard work and sweat gone into it.”

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