In the News:
MP Visits ISKCON Soho

by Kallidai Ramesh

Posted June 27, 2009

London, June 16 2009

Mark Field, Conservative Member of Parliament from Westminster visited the Hindu temple at Soho Street on 15th June to understand how its Hindu congregation was making a substantial contribution to the local communities. The Radha Krishna ISKCON temple which was established 40 years ago by Swami Prabhupada is the oldest Hindu temple in the city of London.

Receiving Mark Field with a ceremonial Hindu ceremony, Jai Nitai Dasa President of the temple said, "We have a vibrant, progressive and spiritually inspiring Hindu community here in the heart of his constituency for over 40 years. From this temple we feed 500 homeless people every week, provide a free lunch to 300 students and office-goers in the city, and run various community development projects targeted at students, women and elderly."

The temple also plays an important role in inter-faith initiatives in Westminster and advises the Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education. It also organises the largest Hindu carnival outside India, called the London Ratha Yatra, which commemorates a 5000 year-old celebration from the ancient holy city of Puri in India.

Mark Field joined the resident monks and visitors in the temple to offer respects to the Deities and placed flowers on the altar of Swami Prabhupada. He appreciated the contribution the temple made to the local communities and said, "I felt honoured to be invited to the only Hindu Temple in my constituency. I applaud the unique contribution that ISKCON and the Hindu community have made in adding to the quality and diversity of the social, cultural and spiritual landscape of London. In particular, your programmes for feeding the homeless are deeply appreciated and your vegetarian restaurant promotes healthy food and quality lifestyle."

Arjan Vekaria President of the Hindu Forum of Britain said, "As this is the only Hindu temple in Westminster, the seat of the British parliament, we felt it was important for the local MP to visit his community. The temple is a sterling example of how faith communities can integrate if they play a wider role in the local community by reaching to members of other faith communities."

In a recent poll in London, where the audience were asked to name the three most iconic images of the Westend, the Hare Krishnas came third after black cabs and red buses.