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Hindu Samaj hopes to make Orwell river the new Ganges

PUBLISHED: 18:40 04 December 2018

The deities of Shri Ram, Sita Devi and Lakshman in the Ipswich Hindu Mandir Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

The deities of Shri Ram, Sita Devi and Lakshman in the Ipswich Hindu Mandir Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

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The secretary of the Hindu Samaj in Ipswich has spoken about his hopes of making the river Orwell a place to scatter the ashes of Suffolk Hindus.

Dr Sushil Soni has big plans for the Ipswich Hindu Samaj Picture: LYNNE MORTIMERDr Sushil Soni has big plans for the Ipswich Hindu Samaj Picture: LYNNE MORTIMER

Dr Sushil Soni has lived in Ipswich since 1967 and is a founding member of the Hindu Samaj there, a Hindu society and community centre established in 2006.

He has spoken ahead of a visit from the High Sheriff of Suffolk George Vestey, who will be visiting the Hindu Mandir, or temple, and the deities within.

Dr Soni was keen to talk about the society’s hopes to get a new religious site on the River Orwell for purposes of spreading the ashes of Hindus who have died in Suffolk.

He said: “In the Hindu faith we scatter ashes after cremation into the Ganges.

Dr Soni hopes to make the River Orwell the new Ganges Picture: KEVIN FRAYERDr Soni hopes to make the River Orwell the new Ganges Picture: KEVIN FRAYER

“If we can take some of the pure Ganges water and put it into another river it will become the Ganges and we can scatter the ashes into that river.

“It is a problem in Ipswich because when a Hindu dies the family has had to take the ashes to India to be scattered.

“We would like to have a place here.”

Dr Soni has been talking to various councils for more than 10 years in the hope of getting a new centre on the River Orwell.

The Samaj moved to their community centre and Mandir on the Thoroughfare in Ipswich back in 2010 with deities like Krishna, Ganesha and mother Goddess established in the temple.

However, they rent the building and feel that a site on the Orwell could prove to be a huge step-up for them.

Roger Abbott is a trustee of the Samaj and found Hinduism whilst on a tour of Malaysia with the British armed forces.

He said: “The centre has really grounded us and centred the Samaj.

“I’ve known Sushill for a long time now and he pushed extremely hard to get the centre, even today we continue to push to get a more permanent residence.”

Umesh Patel is a founding member of and chairman of the Samaj.

He said: “This is a centre for the whole community not just for people from India, it is always open to all.”

The Samaj will hold celebrations on Sunday, January 13 for the Makar Sankrati festival, it celebrates the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer, spring days.

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