Shree Hindu Temple & Community Centre

Our History

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The History Of
Shree Hindu Mandir & Community Centre

In 1966 there were very few indian families in the Highfield area of the city of Leicester. At that time a few ladies started Satsang in various houses of the participants. In 1968 religious preacher named Shyama Devi arrived from Vrindavan, India. She joined the group and started preaching. She told these ladies to start fund for Hindu Temple. The door-to-door Satsang and fund collections were started.

Public meeting were called in Jyoti Cinema and Weasley Hall, where an appeal for the Temple fund eas made and substantial amount was collected. With the help of J.Amrit & Co the estate agent, the coner shop of Cooperative was purchased. With the self-help volunteers lots of alterations and renovations took place of worship.

On June 3rd 1969 the murties of Shree Radha Krishna were installed, which were brought by Late Shri Ranchodbhai Patel. Thus the temple came into existence and everybody was very happy, as this was the first Temple in the city. Maybe the first in the UK. The ladies were having regular Satsang which was held on Monday and Thursdays from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.

After 3 years the punlic came to know that this Temple property is in the name of Shayama Devi, and that she is the President for the lifetime. Constitution was never discussed and passed in which there was a clause that nobody could change any of the clause's without her permission. Shyama Devi started dictatorship to run the Temple. She never bothered to hear the public opinion (voice), nor allowed any Sadhu Sant or Kathakar to preach..

In 1973 a public meeting was called at Shree Sanatan Mandir. The hall was full. This matter was discussed and an Ad. Hoc committee of 11 members was formed. Mr G R Patel was selected to head the committee. After consulting the solicitor Mr Tilak Johar & Co, the committee took over charge of the Temple by force. The locks were changed and they started running the Temple.

Shyama Devi formed another committee and Dr Shivadiker was nominated as the president. They tried to retake the control of the Temple by making lots of struggle and arguements. One day Dr Shivadiker, with title deeds of the property in his hands came to the Temple with a couple of policemen. The temple was full of congregations. The police called me out and asked me who is the president? Myself I replied, he said to me, this Doctor has the title deeds of the property and he said he is the president. I asked him to come in the Temple and ask the public's opinion. The police came in and asked the public about the president. All with one voice started saying Mr G R Patel is the president and not Dr Shivadiker. Police left immediately and told Dr Shivadiker not to come to the Temple again. If you want the place go to the court, he advised. The legal battle then started for the ownership of the Temple. Shyama Devi was arguing that she is the owner of the property. Our reply was that she is the trustee and not the owner.

The High Court hearing took place at nottingham High Court. Within an hour the judge gave ruling that, Shyama Devi is not the owner but the trustee. We won the case.

Then to alter the constitution clause, we have to take this case to the chancellery Division London. We were told by our solicitors that this case could be won, but we need approximately 80 to 100 thousand pounds to carry out proceedings in London.

As the property itself was very small and we were looking for a larger place, we decided to compromise with Shyama Devi and withdraw our case from court. She also did the same. in December 1989 we handed over the property to her without any equipments, cash at bank or any utilities except Radha Krishna idols. We started to look for another large property. Within 6 years, we saw and obtained planing permissions for 4 properties one after another but because of lack of funds we lost all the sites to other communities in Leicester.

After hard struggle we purchased present property in February 1996, at 34 St Barnabas Rd, Leicester at a price of 180,000. This property was a BT mechanical unit. We obtained the planning permission and started our activities in June 1996, with small marble idols which Mr Nathubhai Maru loaned to us.

Slowly and steadly we incresased our activities. We borrowed 300,000 from our Natwest Bank for renovations and extensions. We prepared a fireproof kitchen worth 42,000. We extended outside of the hall with a 10ft corridor and the other side was extended to create ladies and gents toilets and a comittee room.

This temple has a management committee of 27 members, elected every year in the AGM. We are pleased to say that within the 3 years we have organised so many programs to raise funds. We have pleasure to say we have fully paid off the bank loan of 350,000 within 4 years. This is a great achivement by the members of the temple, and great support from the public. We are much obliged to the Hindu public of UK for their very kind hearted donations to this temple. All the donor's names with the amount of their donations are on the boards on the wall of the temple.

In  the short period of the activties, since the last 7 years we have started our own bimonthly magazine called "Bhakti Darshan". We publish our diwali edition with approximately 140 pages and 5000 copies are distributed free of charge to the people of Leicester, UK and abroad such as India, South Africa, Canada, USA and New Zealand. Apart from this we had published the followings:-

  • 1000 copies of small booklets called "Shivopasana and Dwadas Jyotirling Manus Yatra", we sold out and preparing for the second edition.
  • 1000 copies of "Matru-Vandana and Durgapuja" very few copies are left of this edition.
  • 1000 copies of "Sant Param Hitkari Bhakht Shri Jalaram".

The author of all above booklets is Shri Induben Shroff, a comittee member and the editor of  "Bhakti Darshan" she has made lots of research for "Jalaram Bapa" book, as it contains the whole life story of Jalaram Bapa and Virbaimata including their previous births, and complete "Vanshavali" of Jalaram Bapa. Very few copies are left behind.

In our history we are the first to arrange Pujya Rameshbhai Oza's Katha in Leicester in 1982. Another Katha was also arranged at Soar Valley College in Leicester. We spent 14,000 to prepare video cassette sets of this Katha which were sold all over the UK and abroad. Now we are out of stock.

We have arranged 3 "Char dham" Bharat Yatra. 1st yatra in 1982 we took 70 yatries. In 1985 in association with Preston Temple, we took 140 yatries and in 1987 we took another 70. With the 3rd yatra trip, we totally raised 26,000 net for the benefit of our Temple from these trips.

This is the short history of our temple. My wife Mrs Ratanben Patel has been serving the temple since the beginning with myself from 1973. Ever since, both of us are working in leading roles doing voluntary work. I pray to our Almighty Radha Krishna, to bless all of us at Hindu Temple to fulfill our religious duties and serve our people for many years to come.

Our Temple is one of the busiest in the city, where everybody is welcomed without any fear or prejudice. We have also donated upto 500 and more to local charities such as Loros, Cancer Research UK, Diabeties UK, IFAW, Children With Leukaemia and natural disasters & many more appeals we have sent 10000 to the earthquake in Bhuj.

Thus we are taking major part for the benefits of all the people in the city, country and abroad 

G.R. Patel

PRESIDENT

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Shree Hindu Temple & Community Centre,
34 St Barnabas Road, Leicester, LE54BD,
Tel:(0116) 246 4590 or (0116) 220 4261