Northampton Hindu community's search for new home is over

A group of Hindu worshippers has finally found a new home after more than a decade of searching.

They had hoped to build a new temple, or mandir, in Northampton but were unable to find funding for the project.

They are now converting an old Christadelphian hall in the town into a mandir.

The first religious ceremony at the new venue takes place on Monday to mark Annakut - which means "a mountain of food" and is part of Diwali.

The Indian Hindu Welfare Organisation (IHWO) was set up in 1996 to enhance the lives of Northampton's Hindu community and develop partnerships with other groups.

From 2005 to 2012, the IHWO was based at the council-owned Rectory Farmhouse, but it had to move out because there were problems with the building.

During its time at the Farmhouse, the IHWO came up with a £10m plan to create a mandir in Lings Farm in Northampton.

The project included sports and leisure facilities and sheltered housing as well as the worship space.

Some nearby residents opposed the scheme as they were worried about a possible increase in traffic and pressure on parking spaces.

Permission was granted for work to start in 2012 but funding proved hard to come by. The IHWO took a lease on Weston Favell Parish Hall and continued to fundraise.

Then, in September, the Christadelphian hall in St Michael's Road came up for auction and the IHWO bought it.

Neelam Aggarwal-Singh, from the IHWO, said: "People's prayers have been answered and I never realised how much this means to people - the excitement in the community has been phenomenal.

"Schools are getting really excited because, until now, we have not been able to accept school visits because we didn't have a mandir and we have been sending them to Wellingborough, whereas now I have schools asking 'can we have a visit to the mandir?'"

The IHWO has already staged an open day, but the first religious event will be Annakut.

As part of the festival, devotees prepare and offer a large variety of vegetarian food to the god, Krishna, as a mark of gratitude.

Ms Aggarwal-Singh said the plan to create a new building had not been dropped.

"What we have done now is a stepping stone exercise," she said.

"We are still working [on the new-build project] in parallel to this."

Follow East of England news on Facebook, Instagram and X. Got a story? Email or WhatsApp 0800 169 1830