Harborough district crematorium believed to be the first in the country to have a dedicated shrine to Hindu god Shiva

The white marble statue of Shiva was donated to Great Glen Crematorium by local businessman Sailesh Raja

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 10:12 am
Sailesh Raja and Harvey Watson

A Harborough district crematorium is believed to be the first in the country to have a dedicated shrine to Hindu god Shiva.

The white marble statue of Shiva was donated to Great Glen Crematorium by local businessman Sailesh Raja.

Shiva is the third god in the Hindu triumvirate.

The statue at Great Glen Crematorium on London Road has now had a roof put over it to offer shelter to those who visit it to offer their prayers.

Mr Raja said: “I come from Uganda and am from a spiritual family where practising good faith was always encouraged.

“I am now 60 years old and since coming to the UK I have been working to help with community activities, including through my business of Group Care Homes.”

He added: “I thought having a dedicated shrine would be a great service to the local community so I approached the crematorium.

“I was not confident they would agree to it.

“But the manager was very approachable, friendly and supportive from day one - and he agreed.

“Most crematoriums have temporary shrines, but I believe this was the first to have a permanent one.

“It is very important to the local community, as it is said that Lord Shiva is an inhabitant of the cremation ground,” stressed Mr Raja.

“Everyone who has heard about this is very appreciative.

“People have told me that because of this, their first approach for cremation will be Great Glen Crematorium.

“The whole community is very happy and thankful to the team at Great Glen Crematorium.

“We appreciate the support we have had from them and look forward to working with the team in the future.”

Harvey Watson, the manager at Great Glen Crematorium, said: “At Great Glen, we have fantastic support from the Hindu and Sikh communities.

“I believe it’s important that we do what we can to offer them an opportunity to honour their lost loved ones in the way that is reflective of their beliefs.

“Sailesh is a successful local businessman and when he said he would fund the permanent shrine to Shiva, we instantly understood its importance to the community.

“This has helped us to build even stronger relationships with our community, which is something that Westerleigh Group considers to be extremely important.”