Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in UK -2

Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in UK

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Oldham

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Oldham is a Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Oldham  It became the third Swaminarayan temple to open in the United Kingdom under the NarNarayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday on 22 October 1977.

30th Anniversary

In 2007, over 2,500 people, including the mayor of Oldham, turned up to celebrate the temple's thirtieth anniversary, taking part in a variety of activities

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Bolton

Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple (Bolton) is a three storied Swaminarayan Temple on Adelaide Street in Bolton, Greater Manchester.  It is the first Swaminarayan Temple to be built in the UK and Europe, opened in 1973. The original structure was razed and rebuilt in 1993.

35th Anniversary

As part of the 35th anniversary celebrations the temple teamed up with the Big Bolton Health Check, a campaign that aimed to reduce heart attacks and disease in Bolton.  The temple comes under the NarNarayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday.

40th Anniversary

The 6th of September 2013, marks our 40th Anniversary, come and join us and help celebrate this auspicious occasion.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (Willesden)

Shree Swaminarayan Temple Willesden is a Swaminarayan Mandir in the London suburb of Willesden. It is the first Swaminarayan Mandir to be opened in the city.  Today the Swaminarayan Sampraday has six Swaminarayan Mandirs across London alone.


In 1975, a disused church on Willesden Lane was bought and renovated.  On the auspicious day of Sharad Purnima on 11 October 1975, Acharya Maharajshree Tejendraprasad Pande installed the murtis of Swaminarayan, NarNarayan Dev, Radha Krishna Dev, Hanuman and Ganesh.


The church building could not accommodate the increasing numbers of satsangis over time. New activities had also been introduced such as Gujarati language classes, a library, and a picture framing service as well as other youth activities. [3]
An adjoining building was bought thinking that it would solve the problem, but even so this could not meet the needs. [4]
In 1986 a proposal was put forward to demolish the two existing buildings and in its place build a three temple story complex, which would combine the traditional Hindu Temple architecture and British designs. The ceremonial stone was laid on 12 October 1986. On 29 July 1988, Acharya Maharajshree Tejendraprasad Pande opened the new building. [4]


The following activities are conducted by the temple.  
  • Gujarati School: A Gujarati language school runs in the temple premises. The school boasts 500 students and 60 volunteer teachers.
  • SSTW Academy: There are various sports activities, camps, religious activities and discussions run by this academy that was formed in 1997.  
  • Yoga classes
  • Tabla classes
  • Hinduism classes
  • Bal Kendra classes, for young children
  • Vachanamrut classes that teach the Vachanamrut, an important scripture in the Swaminarayan Sampraday
  • Festival Alerts: The temple provides email and SMS alerts for upcoming festivals
Apart from the above, the temple has also been active in providing assistance during natural disasters. For example, the temple organised a charity walk to help provide aid for the 2004 tsunami that struck South Asia.   A few years before that, in 2001 the temple took up the responsibility for coordinating relief work for the Gujarat earthquake from London. The temple sent 60 tons of clothing and blankets to affected areas.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (Harrow)

Shri Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple (Harrow) is a Swaminarayan Temple in the London Borough of Harrow. When opened in 1976, the temple was originally located at Vaughan Road, West Harrow. It was moved to the Kenton area of Harrow in 1996 to accommodate the growing congregation.   The temple comes under the NarNarayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday

Temple activities

  • A nursery for young children - Ghanshyam Nursery  
  • Gujarati language classes  
  • Hinduism classes
  • A day care centre for the elderly. The work which includes a reading area, meditation areas, library, dining room, kitchen and an office was started in 2004 and was completed in time for the 10th anniversay.  

10th Anniversary

About 6,000 people turned up to celebrate the 10th anniversary in 2006–07.   Bronze idols, usually displayed inside the temple, were paraded on floats, while dancers and musicians performed in the streets.   Marquees help take the edge of the cold as people danced and sang.  Police set up road diversions along Roe Green Park, Kingsbury High Road and Kenton Lane to cope with the large crowds and the two-hour event passed without any trouble. The event was attended by Harrow East MP and Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, Tony McNulty and a number of local councillors.   Road closures were in operation at Kenton Lane and Kingsbury High Road up to Roe Green for the event.  

Charity walks

The temple has regularly organised charity walks to raise money for various causes. In 2005, the temple organised a Charity walk in aid of victims of the South Asian Tsunami victims. Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas, Mayor of Harrow, Councillor Lurline Champagnie and the Leader of Harrow Council, Councillor Navin Shah took part in the event.   In 2008, the temple youth wing organised a charity walk in aid of Welldon Activity Group (one of the Mayor of Harrow's chosen charities) and Kenton-based St Luke’s Hospice. The route chosen was from the Harrow Civic Centre to the temple.   The walk raised nearly £50,000 for the two causes.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (East London)

Shree Kutch Satsang Swaminarayan Temple (East London) is a Swaminarayan Temple in east London, in the London Borough of Newham that comes under the Narnarayan Dev Gadi and is part of the Hindu faith.
The main Hindu temple (Mandir), with an upper floor used for seminars and other gatherings, and a library selling books and other religious material. A kitchen and dining area a few doors down, which was previously used as a temporary Mandir while the main Mandir was being reconstructed. The organisation is a Charity Registered and was formed in 1986.

Intstitutions/ Groups under the Temple

  • A Gujarati school - Sahajanand School  
  • A youth group - Swaminarayan Yuvak Mandal  
  • A Band/Lazium team - Band/Lazium  

Yuvak Mandal

This is the Youth Wing. According to Swaminarayan Sampraday holy scriptures each and every occasion is celebrated with great festivity. These include occasions such as, Rama Navami, Janmashtami, Diwali, Ankoth, and so on, with special inclusions of annual anniversary celebrations of the Temple followed by 5 to 7 days Katha Parayan in the presence of saints and the Acharya.
Boys & Girls Sabhas, Dhol Lessons, Summer fun-days out, Treasure hunts, Christmas fun-days, Shikshapatri evening lectures, are some of the acitivities of the Yuvak Mandal of East London Swaminarayan Temple.

25th Anniversary Celebrations

The Temple is in the run-up to its Patotsav celebrations, celebrating the completion of 25 years in the community. Large celebrations are planned to take place from Monday 26th August till Sunday 1st September 2013, including a Nagar Yatra (public street parade)

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Brighton

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Brighton is a Swaminarayan Hindu Temple located in the Portslade area of the city of Brighton and Hove, on the south east coast of England. Inaugurated on the 19th of September 1999, the 10th Swaminarayan temple to be opened in the UK. The temple comes under the ISSO wing of the Swaminarayan Sampraday
The Murti Pratishta was done by Acharya Maharajshree Tejendraprasad Pande among chants of vedic hymns. The event was attended by the MP and Mayor of Brighton as well as the Indian High Commissioner in the UK

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Cardiff

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Cardiff is a Swaminarayan temple located in the Grangetown area of Cardiff, the capital city of Wales  It is the first and largest Hindu temple in Wales and comes under the NarNarayan Dev Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday


It is the first Swaminarayan temple in Wales, purchased in 1979, being opened in 1982. At the time, the temple was located in a converted synagogue.  In 1993, it was moved across the road from the original temple site to the current site, replacing an old Irish club.


Between 2005 and 2007, the temple underwent major refurbishment work, at the cost of £700,000. This included installation of new marble idols in the temple, three white stone spires (The first on a Hindu temple in Wales), exterior in the style of a traditional Hindu temple and new classrooms and living quarters have been built. The three spires have been placed above three new altars inside the building - one for women, one for men, and one mixed. Half the original temple was brought down, and replaced. During this period, services took place in a temporary room downstairs while work was under way. Most of the funds for the refurbishment came from donations within the community.  The temple also received a grant of £110,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government for the repairs as well as to build disabled access to the temple.

Community spirit

The temple has been in the forefront in humanitarian activities. When an earthquake struck Gujarat in 2001, devotees who originated from Gujarat collected £30,000 in just 3 days for victims. The temple priest immediately flew out to oversee relief work. Hundreds of bags of clothes were donated by the community and shipped to Bhuj, the capital of Kutch district, the epicenter of the earthquake.  Similarly, later that year, when the September 11 attacks shook the world, the temple along with other religious establishments in Cardiff held a special service in memory of the people who died in the attack.

25th Anniversary celebrations

The refurbishment was completed in time for the 25th anniversary of the temple in 2007. The event was attended by Acharya Maharajshri Koshalendraprasadji Maharaj (spiritual head of the NarNarayan Dev Gadi), who installed the new idols in the temple. Around 3,000 people took part in a 1.6 mile long procession full of music, colour and dance through Cardiff to mark 25 years of the faith in the city. The procession went from the civic centre, past Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Stadium to the temple. To promote secularism, representatives of other religions were invited to join in. The procession, which was shown live on the internet, was the culmination of a week of events, held to celebrate the redevelopment of the temple.

Diwali celebrations and visit by First Minister

First Minister for Wales, Rhodri Morgan visited the temple in 2008 to celebrate the occasion of Diwali. Mr Morgan was given a tour of the newly refurbished temple. During his visit, Mr Morgan presented young boys with traditional new year’s day gifts (Bestu Varas), while young girls were given their gifts by Grangetown Councillor, Francesca Montemaggi. A musical performance was put up by the temple for the event and there was a highlight of the Diwali celebrations for guests, ending with the Aarti. The event was also attended by police students from the South Wales Police, who wished to learn more about the Hindu religion and its customs.

Hindu Temple, Nottingham


The Nottingham Hindu Temple and Community centre was found in early 70's and is a friendly, welcoming centre. It includes a community hall which houses the Hindu Youth Group, yoga classes, a luncheon club and Hindi school.

One may worship Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna or some other gods and goddesses or one may believe in the 'Supreme Spirit' or the 'Indestructible Soul' within each individual and still be called a good Hindu.In Hinduism the Supreme Being doesn't sit in Heaven meting out rewards and punishments, but, instead, is present in all creatures. Rather than being a pantheistic religion, Hinduism is panentheistic because god, as an ever-changing Being, is present in everything and everyone. Creation, protection and destruction, the chief functions/roles of the Supreme Being, are represented to Hindus by three gods of our Hindu Trinity Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. Some explain these three gods as manifestations of the Supreme Being; others insist that they are independent. Each god has a particular power associated with him, which, in turn, is represented as a consort

Sai Dham (Nottingham)

The Sai Community Centre (also called Sai Dham Nottingham) was established in 1993 with devine blessings of Shri Saidas Baba (took mahasmadhi in 2006) who was a famous Saint and devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba and Shri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi,
Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi was one of the greatest saints with miraculous powers, seen in early decades of nineteenth century in India (mahasamadhi in 1918) and is revered as a God incarnate for uplifting the people of all faiths and communities.
Sai Baba is beyond distinctions of religion, caste or creed. He embodied all religions and preached the Universal religion of Love. He said that 'my aim is to change the hearts of Chrstians to make them better Christians, muslims to make them better muslims, Hindus to make them better Hindus and Sikhs to make them better Sikhs' (and people of all other religions and faiths too).
Besides propagating the teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba for the unity and oneness of all religions and faiths, Saidham Nottingham aims to:
Provide support to the Senior Citizens and Youth for healthy life styles including Yoga and Meditation.

Sai Dham (abode of Sai) is the UK and Europe's first meditation/prayer centre dedicated to Bhagwan Shirdi Sai Baba. Within the walls of premises situated at Egypt Road, New Basford, Nottingham, UK, are housed a marble statue of Shirdi Sai Baba, photographs of Sathya Sai Baba, statues of Venkateshvara Balaji, Hanumanji, Durga Mata, Ganeshji and a Shiva Linga with Nandi. For more information on Sai Baba and what Sai means click here or for images of these Murthis and the Mandir gallery click here.

A city known for the tales of Robin Hood, but why Sri Sai Das Babaji chose Nottingham, of all the places in Europe which could stake a claim to establish the most unique Shirdi Sai Mandir, is a wonderful mystery to us all. Such is the uniqueness of Sai Dham, not only is it the only temple in Europe dedicated to Shirdi Baba, but also Abhishek's are carried out on the Murthis every morning and Bhajans occur every evening at the premises, with dinner served to all on Saturdays. For more information on opening times click here.

Today there are 10 Sai Dham’s spread all over the world, but this website is dedicated to the very first Sai Dham which was setup in 1994. Some of the others include Sai Dham's in New Jersey USA, Massachusetts USA, Nairobi in Kenya, Iringa in Tanzania, Jammu and Kashmir in India and head quarters Sai Foundation India located at Prashanti Dham, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh in India.
The Full Story
H. H. Sri Sai Das Babaji first came to Nottingham, England in March 1993. He came on invitation from Mr. P. N. Sharma and conducted a parayan (reading) of the Sai Satcharita. During that first visit, many people became devoted to Sai and a family, a Sai Parivar, was born. Babaji stayed for two weeks and during that trip made a permanent place for himself in the hearts of the devotees. Upon leaving he made the following comments:

"The beautiful Sai Centre that will emerge in Nottingham will herald many new works of Bhagavan Baba's. There will also be a small Sathya Sai hospital. For all this, you people will not have to do anything, there will be no need to collect money or anything. In Sai's, work it is faith and not money that is needed. It will all be Sai's and he will look to it all. It is his headache not our headache. We just have to enjoy the fruits of that centre. From the day when a Shirdi Sai Baba idol will be installed in Nottingham in 1994, the Sai Centre will start to function. How is the Centre to be started? From where are the parts going to come? Who is going to run the Centre? How are people going to enjoy the fruits of the Centre? What is the purpose of the Centre? All these questions will be answered through your own experiences right from the time the Shirdi Baba idol is installed."

He returned in September 1993. The number of devotees regularly gathering at the home of Mr P. N. Sharma was beginning to get very large indeed, so Babaji suggested that the devotees look for a place where a temple could be set up. Several places were suggested and Babaji chose one in particular. It was an old disused two storey mini supermarket in a built-up residential area of Nottingham.

Babaji announced that the name of the centre would be Sai Dham and that it would contain within it a temple called the “Abhaya Hasta Sai Mandir” meaning the Lord's hand raised in blessing, granting shelter and protection for the devotee. He fixed the date for inauguration to be 20th April 1994, Ramnavmi day, declaring that all the idols, pooja materials and other items for the temple would be provided by Baba himself and (the then recently set up) Sai Foundation India. So, the small group of devotees set about "building" a temple.

Efforts to buy the property were met with difficulty. A local opposition group who did not want a Sai temple to be opened in Nottingham, pushed the price of the property up by making false offers to purchase it. The result was that the building cost 40% more than it should have. Nevertheless, the keys to the building were received on Thursday 17th February 1994 and the building finally become ours.

The building was in a very poor state indeed. The entire place was caked in grime and dirt. New electricity cables and wiring was required, in several places walls had to be knocked down, fans and lighting had to be installed, the pooja hall (which was on the upper storey) had to be planned and decorated, a platform where the idol of Shirdi Baba would reside (with other deities) had to be constructed, benches for devotees to sit on had to be built, carpets had to be laid, wallpapering and plastering had to be done and the entire opening ceremony had to be planned. The list of jobs was endless and barely two months remained to complete the tasks.

Luckily, an army of devotees came forward to help. Everyone from small children to senior members of the community came to clean, scrub, hammer, plaster, wire, decorate and offer support in any way that they could. Despite all the hard work, a smile was on every face and people were full of excitement and enthusiasm. Many local people made generous donations, others provided loans for extended periods and many others provided their skills and support.

Meanwhile in India, on 14th March 1994, Sai Foundation India members travelled to Whitefield for Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s darshan. They held aloft photographs of the Nottingham idol along with various other items destined for Sai Dham. Swami placed his hands on the objects and blessed them all.

Back in England, the clock was ticking. It seemed that there was too much to do and not enough time. Babaji was due to arrive in Nottingham on 15th April with a 22 strong party of devotees from India. The building had to be ready by then.

On Friday 8th April the exquisite marble statue of Shirdi Baba arrived. Measuring 4’6” tall, it weighed nearly 180kgs.

The days passed quickly until finally, there were only a few days to go. The pooja hall was still not ready, the platform still needed some finishing touches, wood had still not arrived for benches and carpets had not been delivered. In addition, Babaji had requested that one small room be provided to house a bed, chair, table and lamp for Sathya Sai Baba. This room was still to be cleaned and we did not have the funds to buy the furniture for the room. At this point, people began to panic and threw up a prayer for help. Almost instantly, a lorry arrived with the wood for the benches, from the other side, another van arrived with carpets.

The problem of Swami’s room was solved in the following wonderful way. Mr. Uttam Bhai, a Sai devotee, arrived from a neighbouring city (Leicester) with his son, Bharat. Even though it was their first visit to the building, they seemed to know exactly where Swami’s room was. They announced that Bharat has experienced a dream the previous night in which Swami had asked him to go to Sai Dham in Nottingham and to take a bed, bedding, table, chair, lamp and other items and to arrange His room there. We were all wonderstruck to hear this. Bharat had seen the layout of the building in his dream and hence knew exactly where Swami’s room was!

Suddenly it seemed that everything was going to be alright and we were surprised at how quickly the gargantuan task was being completed. Sadly, others, who did not share our devotion and wished to see us fail, were also surprised that such a small group of people could get a temple ready in such a short time. We received poison-pen letters threatening to spoil the opening of the temple. Some letters even threatened physical violence against Babaji himself if the opening was not abandoned.

April 15th finally came around and still the devotees were busy putting finishing touches to the temple. Babaji and his party arrived in the evening. As Babaji entered the building, a local devotee who had worked day and night on the temple, Mr. Vinubhai Mistry was driving the final screw into a sign on the wall. As Babaji entered Sai Dham for the first time, their eyes met, tears of joy welled into Vinubhai’s eyes. Although, he had heard much about Babaji, this was the first time they had met. Babaji stood in front of Vinubhai and beckoned him forward. Still in his overalls and clutching a screwdriver, Vinubhai became the first person to receive charan sparsh (blessings) inside Sai Dham.

On 20th April the idols of Ganesha, Shiva Lingam, Nandi and Shirdi Sai Baba were installed with due formalities and rituals. The idol of Shirdi Baba was so heavy that it took eight men about half an hour to place it on the central position on the platform.

Babaji performed the Praan Pratishtaan (life giving) ceremony. A giant photograph of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was installed on the platform along with a giant photograph of the Samadhi in Shirdi. The entire centre was full to busting on that day and just as Babaji has assured us, there was no trouble of any sort.

That was how the very first Sai Dham was inaugurated. Since then, Venkateshvara Balaji has been installed, Hanumanji has also landed in Sai Dham, Durga Mata has also arrived and most recently on Sunday 21st October 2007 Lakshmi Narayan, Ram Darbar, Gauri Shankar and Radha Krishna were installed. The complete programme of that Pran Pratishthan Mahotsava (Murthi Installation) is available  . Since its opening on 20th April 1994, Abhisheks have been performed on Ganesha, Shiva Lingam and Shirdi Baba each and every day. Bhajans have also taken place every single day. The centre has organised many festivals and poojas and has made efforts to raise money for worthy causes. A small youth wing has also been setup and a games room with pool table at the Mandir.

People from all over the world have visited Sai Dham. Some have found cures for their illness after taking the holy tirth of Baba’s Abhishek water. Many other have found peace after taking the darshan of Shirdi Baba. The jyoti from this first Sai Dham (Nottingham) has been used to light the flame in other Sai Dhams all over the world and the keeper of the flame, Babaji himself, provides love and encouragement to continue the work of spreading the message of love and brotherhood and to keep the akand jyoti burning ever bright.

Our Sathguru H.H. Sri Sai Das Babaji shed his mortal coils and took Mahasamadhi on 1st September 2006, the Mahasmadhi programme of our Samarth Sathguru Sri Sai Das Babaji was held at Prashanti Dham, Ujjain on September 4th 2006. Henceforth, 1st September every year is commemorated as Aradhana Day at Sai Dham for Babaji.


Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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