Temple nearing reality

IPSWICH'S Hindu community is today closing in on its bid to build a temple in the town.After ten years of speculation, plans are now being put into action which could see the temple up and running within the next two years.

IPSWICH'S Hindu community is today closing in on its bid to build a temple in the town.

After ten years of speculation, plans are now being put into action which could see the temple up and running within the next two years.

The move forward comes as 11 people have been announced as the committee for a Hindu samaj, a group set up to oversee the project.

Dr Sushil Soni, from the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Society, is president of the committee.

He said: “We had the first committee meeting this month and talked about setting things up - how much money we need to collect, membership fees and so on.

“The idea has been in our minds for ten years or so although the community was not as ready for a Hindu temple back then as it is now.

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“We are getting support from all sections of the community, including members of other faiths, and have set the ball rolling.”

The group's first hurdle is finding a suitable home for the temple. Officers at Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council have cited premises in Landseer Road and the Ravenswood estate which are now being investigated.

The nearest Hindu temple is currently in London and the samaj says as the Indian population in Suffolk is growing, a place of worship closer to home is more necessary.

Dr Soni said: “In the past people have worshipped at small shrines in their own homes. We used to regularly meet but the group grew in size and individual homes were not big enough.

“We looked at hiring halls but the community feared the atmosphere wouldn't be the same as having their own centre. That's where idea of samaj came from - it's just taken ten years.

“There is no one area of Ipswich where there is a bigger Indian community but we are hoping to get somewhere on the fringes of the town where there are more likely to be car parking and utilities like a kitchen area.

“As soon as we get a premises we will be away.”

The committee is looking for a home where there is a space for a place of worship, and a separate area for community use which would be open to everyone.

They are looking at spending between £100,000 and £200,000.

Would a Hindu temple be good for Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

For the up-to-date developments to this and other breaking news stories log on to the Star website at www.eveningstar.co.uk

In the 2001 census there were 850 Indians registered in Ipswich and 500 were Hindus. It is believed the figures are rising.

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