Bath's Hindu Temple to be demolished next summer

-Credit: (Image: Susmita Rajhansha)
-Credit: (Image: Susmita Rajhansha)


Hindus in Bath could face a “painful” period without somewhere dedicated to worship as their temple is set to be demolished by the council.

The city’s Shree Jagannatha Temple opened in part of the former Culverhay School in 2021, a temporary location until a permanent temple could be built. But now Bath and North East Somerset Council is planning to demolish the school buildings on the site so that the Department for Education can build two new schools for Bath.

Paul Roper, the council’s cabinet member for economic and cultural sustainable development, said the council would engage with the temple over the plans. He said: “We realise the sensitivities of it but the need for educational use is a strong one.”

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Bath's Hindu Temple at the former Culverhay School -Credit:Susmita Rajhansha
Bath's Hindu Temple at the former Culverhay School -Credit:Susmita Rajhansha

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Most of the school buildings will be demolished in early 2025 but Mr Roper said the building containing the Hindu Temple would be retained until July 2025, to meet their requirements to move at certain times. He said: “We are not just kicking them out.”

The council expects that not all of the former school site will be needed for the new schools, and part of it could be used for housing or alternative community uses. Mr Roper said it was possible the Hindu Temple could move into part of this area, but it was yet to be determined.

Ashish Rajhansha of the Hindu Temple said: “This has been our home for about three years.”

Bath's Hindu Temple -Credit:Susmita Rajhansha
Bath's Hindu Temple -Credit:Susmita Rajhansha

He said it would take at least six months to build a temporary site that the temple could move into, and warned that the temple may have to close for a period if a new location could not be found in time. He said: “It will be very painful for us if we don’t find somewhere very quickly.”

He added: “We always knew we had to move out at some point but the amount of time is not good enough.”

As well as being the only Hindu Temple in the city of Bath, it is the only temple dedicated to Lord Shree Jagannatha in Europe. Mr Rajhansha said: “People come from all around the world to visit the temple.”

The idols at the temple -Credit:Susmita Rajhansha
The idols at the temple -Credit:Susmita Rajhansha

Lord Jagannatha is celebrated each year in the Rath Yatra — or Chariot Festival — where idols of Lord Jagannatha, his sister Subhadra and elder brother Balbhadra, are paraded through the streets on a decorated chariot.