A taste of India as Mela promotes temple cause

From left, Dr Gyan Gopal, Padma Ramachandrappa, Ritesh Kapadia, Kanta Gopal, Dharamraj Gupta, Chinta Kallie, Rabindra Chakraborty and Mukesh Shori. Picture: OX67679 Ed Nix

From left, Dr Gyan Gopal, Padma Ramachandrappa, Ritesh Kapadia, Kanta Gopal, Dharamraj Gupta, Chinta Kallie, Rabindra Chakraborty and Mukesh Shori. Picture: OX67679 Ed Nix Buy this photo

First published in News

A COMMUNITY group has revealed details of this week’s colourful fundraiser for Oxford’s first Hindu temple.

The Oxford Hindu Temple and Community Centre Project will be hosting its fifth summer Mela at Manzil Way’s mental health charity Restore.

The team has been hoping to establish a £2m purpose-built centre since September 2008, but after years of dedicated fundraising they have only raised £100,000.

The 300-strong group is in desperate need for a permanent base for the county’s 5,000 Hindus.

Event organiser Kanta Gopal said: “It is very important because we are the only people who are nomads. We just move around from place to place every month. There’s no regularity in anything.

“It’s like having no home, so it’s not very satisfying.

“It is a hassle but we are determined enough to have done this for five years and we are sure we are going to have something in Oxford but we need every help from everyone.”

Visitors to the traditional Indian gathering, from noon on Saturday, are set to be entertained by a host of live acts.

The fundraiser will include performances from a mix of different cultural backgrounds including Bollywood and Bhangra dancers, as well as Nepalese drummers.

Strawberry Farm Majorettes, a troupe of dancers aged between five and 18, will perform, alongside tribal belly dance group Ashnah.

Classical dance group Kala Arpan, street dance group Messy Jam and Oxford-based band The Gees are just some of the other performers taking to the stage.

A fashion walk, raffle and a variety of Indian food will be on offer for visitors to the charity event.

Community groups and charities will also be available to provide information and advice on services provided in the city.

Mrs Gopal said: “I’m really excited to be organising it. Oxford is so diverse, so it’s something where we can show what we can do and bring everybody together.

“It gives me pride in projecting what our community is doing and what the community of Oxford is capable of.”

The project launched five years ago after members realised there was not any place in the city for them to hold community events and communal prayer.

Treasurer Dharamraj Gupta said: “We thought we have to do something for the community. We don’t have any kind of place where we can get things of a cultural and educational value.”

Chairman Dr Gyan Gopal said: “There’s no Hindu temple in Oxford. There are places of worship for all other faiths but Hinduism is missing out.

“When we have a temple, it will act as a temple used for cultural events and prayers – but it’s not just for Hindus to get together, but for like-minded friends as well.”

Tickets to Saturday’s event cost £2 for adults and £1 for children.

For more, visit oxfordhindutemple.org

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