Bradford Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple
TheBradford Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple is the oldest place of Hindu worship in West Yorkshire The temple, which started out with just a handful of families, now attracts some 2000-3000 worshippers. The temple is attached to a community centre which provides hot lunches for elderly people, religious education classes, cultural activities and mother tongue classes.
When coming to the mandir everyone is required to take off their shoes before entering. Everyone is expected to be sitting down together on the carpeted floor in the prayer hall. The mandir provides the environment for people to meditate and reach out to God. During service the mandir encourages the devotees to participate by singing bhajans.
History Of The Bradford Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple
The majority of Hindus came to the U.K in the 1950s, 60 and 70s in search of work and to meet the economic needs of their families back home. Most of the Hindus came to the U.K from Punjab and Gujarat in India and also from East Africa in 1970s. In the beginning years, they faced severe hardship and struggle to make both ends meet and lived in very poor conditions. It was a matter of survival. They worked very hard, often working long hours to establish themselves in the U.K. Most of them had young family’s. Once they were fully settled in the U.K, they felt the need to create a common place, where they could meet regularly to meet their Social, Cultural and religious needs. They felt that if they didn’t take action then, they and their children may lose touch with their religion and culture.
People who took this initiative to establish an institution to safeguard the interest of the Hindu Community. They were Mr K.K Mittal, Mr Saxena, Mr Jagdish Chawla, Mr P.N Chawla, Mrs Popli, Mr Bhola, Mr Balwant Rai Sharda, Pandit Hari Krishan Sharma, Mrs Ram Piari Sharma, Mr D.N Prarbhakar Mr Tirath Ram Sharma Mr Sohan Lal Dharni Mr Raj Pal Dharni and many more. Mr Jagdish Chawla was the 1st elected president of the Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford
In 1968 they formed the Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford and adopted a constitution to promote Hinduism in the region and to safeguard the interest of the Hindu Community. They started looking for a suitable place to establish a Worship Hall. But all there efforts were unsuccessful, as they could not find a suitable place, which they could have converted into a worship hall or a Temple. Then the Hindu Community decided to establish a make shift temple in a House and so bought a house in Bradford 7 and set up a temple in a Terraced House. They then started going round Hindu community member’s houses to conduct Sunday Kirtan to raise funds for a bigger place.
In July 1973, the Hindu Culture Society of Bradford managed to buy the 311-321 Leeds Road. Planning permission was obtained from the Bradford Metropolitan Council to establish this Worship place for the Hindus of Bradford and the surrounding areas. The prominent members of the community such as Mr K.K Mittal, Mr Tirth Ram, Mr P.N Chawla, Mr Saxena and Mr Bholla gave personal guarantees to the bank to obtain the necessary loan to buy this building. The community members worked very hard to clean this building, to bring it to the standard, so that they could establish a place of Worship.
On 3rd of August 1974 Murti- Procession of deities took place around Bradford and Murti Sataphan was perfomed at 321 Leeds Road, Bradford, and the first Hindu Place of Worship was established in the city of Bradford. It was a very joyous occasion for the Hindu Community of Bradford. The new Temple was decorated with 5 beautiful paintings of renowned artist such as Shri Shanti Dutta and Prof P.B Lal, which was funded by the Yorkshire art council. As the Hindu community grew in and around Bradford, The Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford began to realise the need of a bigger Purpose built Temple for the growing needs of the community. From 1980 to 2000 various members of the Hindu Community served the Hindu Culture Society of Bradford in various capacities and worked hard to promote Hinduism and to safeguard the interest of the Hindu Community.
Sunday: Special Bhaj