Leicestershire crematorium is first in UK to have a dedicated shrine to Shiva

Leicestershire crematorium is first in UK to have a dedicated shrine to Shiva

Leicestershire crematorium is first in UK to have a dedicated shrine to Shiva

A Leicestershire crematorium is believed to be the first in the country to have a dedicated shrine to Shiva as part of its commitment to serve the diverse local community.

Great Glen Crematorium is part of Westerleigh Group, the UK’s biggest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, with 35 sites nationwide.

The white marble statue of Shiva was donated by local businessman Sailesh Raja.

Shiva is the third god in the Hindu triumvirate and the statue at Great Glen Crematorium has recently had a roof placed 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.

“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.

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

Harvey Watson, Site 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 a 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.

“We aim to provide the best possible service to everyone in our local community, whatever faith they have, and those who have no faith.

“Where we become aware of something, like this Shiva shrine, that local people tell us will improve their experience with us, we are only too pleased to look at how we might accommodate it.

Great Glen Crematorium opened in 2017 and is set within 30 acres of landscaped grounds and gardens.

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