Thousands of people flocked to Sherwood over the weekend to celebrate the opening of the newest and largest Sikh temple in Nottinghamshire.
Over 2,000 worshippers came to visit the Gurdwara Baba Budha Ji, on Haydn Road, to revel in the new temple which has been renovated from office buildings.
The £1.5 million project hosts two prayer rooms, a research library and an overnight temple, making it seven times bigger than its old location in Gladstone Street, next to Forest Fields.
Although West London and Birmingham do have bigger Sikh populations, the 5,000 Nottingham Sikhs represent the city’s second biggest non-Christian religious group after Islam.
‘Entirely Funded by the Sikh Community’
Serbjit Singh Landa, the Operations Director and leader of the project is proud with how far they have gone with the building and renovation. Their old location was getting overcrowded and the biggest issue was the lack of car parking, but the Sherwood venue has enough space for all members of the temple.
Landa says that the fact that Baba Budha Ji is the largest in Nottinghamshire is “very important and it’s very close to being the largest, if not the largest, temple in the East Midlands.”
Jathedar Gurbachan Singh Ji is the ordained leader of the Sikh faith and was flown from India to perform the final blessing to end the weekend ceremony.
“Funding for the project has come predominantly from the Sikh community. We have had a little portion, as gift donations, from the non-Sikh organisations but I have to say these have been relatively small,” according to Landa. This community support has been extremely helpful to the funding of the building.
Lack of Council Support
Landa has however not been supported by Nottingham City Council. “They’re very reluctant to fund religious projects. If it was just a community centre and nothing else, I’m sure we would have been eligible.” Even though the building is owned by a registered charity, it still classes as a religious organisation so support from the council is minimal.
Nottingham’s Parish Office also stated that they don’t receive any funding from the council for religious project. The Church of England pays for the majority of the funding however, they also receive help from charities.
Ten per cent of the earnings for some religious organisations must come from the congregation, such as the Sikh temple but this may be difficult for other places of worship.
Open to Everyone
Landa and the rest of the temple are keen in making sure that the temple is inclusive to all and state that all people, including non-Sikhs are welcome.
A ceremony to celebrate the Vaisakhi festival will take place on Sunday (April 20). The parade will leave the temple in Lenton at 10am and call at Nottingham’s other gurdwaras before arriving at the new Gurdwara Baba Budha Ji at about 6pm.