Leicester Devotees Persevere after Losing Their Temple
On September 3rd, the ISKCON temple on Thoresby Street, Leicester suffered a massive explosion, which was covered extensively by the media. The cause of the explosion has now been confirmed to be a gas leak in the kitchen area.
A third of the temple building is demolished and the rest has been severely impacted throughout. Professionals are presently unsure of the extent of the structural damage, and at this point cannot even confirm if the property will be functional again.
The ISKCON communities in Leicester, as well as across Britain and the rest of the world, are shocked and devastated by the terrible event. The Leicester devotees are currently without a permanent place to congregate for worship, and great uncertainty hangs over them.
They are, however, coming together for prayer and reflection at congregational members’ homes and collectively on the streets of Leicester. And there is a palpable sense of relief that no one was hurt, and that the sacred Deities from the temple shrine were unharmed.
“I am relieved to say that the thirty devotees who were inside the temple managed to vacate the building before the main explosion,” says temple president Pradyumna Dasa. “Looking at the devastation throughout the building, it truly is a miracle that the Deities were unharmed, and are now safely being taken care of at the home of a devotee. We’ve gratefully received messages of support and prayers from all over the world, which gives us great strength and courage to be resilient at this time and to look forward to plans for rebuilding our temple in the near future. The support from the local Hindu community leaders and other faith leaders has been overwhelming, and we are greatly appreciative of all their support and well-wishes.”
He adds, “Our neighbours deserve a special mention—they have been outstanding in their support during and after the incident, and have provided invaluable comfort and reassurance to those who were impacted. We have been overwhelmed with their outpouring of neighbourly love.”
“Our community has been shaken to the core by this incident,” says ISKCON Leicester spokesperson Nimai Dasi, who was at the temple with her two young children at the time of the explosion. “But we believe that everything happens for a good reason. And although we are unclear as to what that reason is at present, we have faith that with united prayer, clarity will come.”
For more information, please visit www.iskconleicester.org.