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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 17:35 UK
Hindu temple 'feeling the pinch'


Hindu temple 'feeling the pinch'

The Vedic Society Hindu Temple in Southampton was the first of its kind in the UK to be built entirely from scratch, and this year it has marked 25 years in the city.

A group of people came to Southampton in the 80s and wanted to create a centre for Hindus. Avinas Patel, Chairman of the Trustees, says: "It seemed an impossible mission for these immigrants at the time, so it has been a great achievement."

Since it was built, they have added a hall to the centre and hosted hundreds of weddings and religious functions.

There are two daily prayer sessions and worshippers come from across the South to join them - especially on Sunday when they have a free lunch hosted by a different family each week, which is attended by around 150 people.

But the temple has not escaped the current economic situation.

Mr Patel says: "Funding has always been a difficulty but this has been the hardest year in our history - all our costs have gone up and the donations have gone down.

"We rely on donations to stay open but people don't have any spare money to give to us at the moment. Instead they give us their time and skills to try and help that way.

"In these tough times people are particularly enjoying the company and community spirit that the temple gives."

Pankaj Raval, Priest at the Hindu temple, came to Southampton from Mumbai six years ago. He says: "The atmosphere and feelings inside the temple are the same as they would be in India.

"Everything is colourful and bright and everyone is welcome here."

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