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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
River may become UK 'Ganges'
Boat on River Ganges
Relatives would no longer have to travel to the Ganges
Hindus and Sikhs may soon get their own sacred river in industrial West Yorkshire.

Plans are being considered to allow people to scatter the ashes of their relatives on the River Aire - in the same way the River Ganges is used.

The move would provide an alternative for families who cannot afford to travel to India.

Steps would be built to allow followers to walk down to the riverbank, and Hindu leaders hope to erect a small shrine.


It will be a sort of holy Ganges in Bradford

Rajinder Paul Johar, president of the Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford

The section of river near Bradford is busy, with lorries travelling along the A658 and a pub and garage nearby.

But community leaders have welcomed the proposals.

A spokeswoman for the Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford said: "Most people, if they can afford it, travel to India.

"But using the River Aire would allow those who couldn't afford it to also scatter ashes."

Holy place

The society's president, Rajinder Paul Johar, said: "It will be a sort of holy Ganges in Bradford."

Hindus believe the holiest place to die is by the banks of the Ganges, but sprinkle ashes on its waters if that is not possible.

The river Aire at Apperley Bridge
The River Aire would take the place of the Ganges

While the Ganges is the holiest river for Hindus, Sikhs also use rivers, such as those in their own state of Punjab.

Pollution concerns - which prevented UK rivers being used legally for the spreading of ashes before - may be overcome.

The fast waters at Apperley Bridge will wash the ashes away, preventing a build-up of ash that would be an environmental hazard.

Jane Glister, Bradford's arts, heritage and leisure director, said no firm decision had yet been made.

The move must also be approved by the Environment Agency.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Murari Gupta, World Council of Hindus in Yorkshire
"It is a great facility for Hindus and Sikhs to perform this last ritual

Click here to go to Bradford
See also:

16 Feb 02 | South Asia
03 Dec 01 | South Asia
27 Jun 00 | South Asia
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