Ipswich Hindus Hope Success of Indian Festival Will Boost Campaign for Temple

July 10, 2006

Source: Evening Star


On July 10, 2006 the Evening Star reported, "A flavour of Indian culture came to Ipswich as the town played host to its first summer mela. While money is being raised for a temple in the area, record numbers enjoyed a day out at the Hindu celebration, held on the lawn in front of Christchurch Mansion yesterday as part of the Ip-Art festival. Colourful saris, delicious spicy cuisine and a variety of music entertained more than 1,000 visitors to the park throughout the afternoon... The growing Indian community in Suffolk are hoping the event's success will boost their campaign to set up a temple in the area. The nearest Hindu temple is in London, and now people from India are keen to have somewhere to worship together and which can serve as a focal point for their community. [Dr Sushil Soni from the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Society] said an increasing number of Hindus in the area meant that the lack of a temple for them was becoming clearer. He said: 'In the 2001 census there were 1,700 Indians in Suffolk and about 1,000 of them - 60 per cent - are Hindus. That number has continued to rise steadily. In Ipswich there were 900 Indian people, of whom 500 were Hindus - and again that number is rising. Until now people have been content to worship at shrines in their own homes, but there is a feeling that as a community we should have our own focal point'. Dr Soni said there were already a Sikh temple and two mosques in Ipswich. Now the Indian society had set up a campaign for a Hindu Samaj Mandir, or temple."