Another first for Bath.

Our World Heritage city is rightly proud of its Roman and Georgian connections but let’s not forget that we continue to lay down local history as each day passes.

This past week-end saw a new event adding another chapter to the city’s cultural achievements – as the first ever Hindu temple was inaugurated at Bath Community Academy.

An historic moment for these dedicated campaigners – who represent the whole Hindu community! L to R Ashish and Sushmita Rajhans and the Deputy Mayor, Dr Yukteshwar Kumar and his wife Mrs Taniya Deb who is Deputy Mayoress.

It’s the culmination of a community campaign – which has also involved Bathwick Councillor Dr Yukteshwar Kumar – to establish a place where Hindus can gather to worship and socialise AND he told me welcome people of other faiths or no faith at all.

It’s also an historical moment as the idols for this temple of Lord Jagannath (the word Juggernaut came from this Deity) were flown in all the way from from Puri, India and the idols are made from the auspicious Neem tree (Azadirachta indica or Indian lilac) & paints of the images are made from organic materials.

Difficult to make out exactly who is who – because of Covid 19 restrictions – but l think you can make out the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Mrs June Player – wearing her chain of office. There was also a representative from the Indian High Commission and other local notables including the Leader of B&NES Cllr Kevin Guy and the new Police Commissioner for Avon and Somerset. Mark Shelford

Dr Kumar, who is Course Director of the Chinese Stream at the University of Bath, was elected a member of Bath and North East Somerset Council – representing Bathwick Ward for the Liberal Democrats – in 2019.

He has recently been appointed Deputy Mayor of Bath – the first person of Asian heritage to take up such a civic role.

I spoke to him via Zoom and asked why it was so important the first temple should be in Bath.