About a month ago I noticed an article on the local BBC website about Bristol’s Hindu population. The community is in need of a site and the city’s new mayor Peter Main said it was one of his first priorities.
Well I like to think we have stolen a march on Mr Main. We have approached a company that can offer the service. Based on the floating harbour in Bristol’s city centre the trip will travel out of the harbour along the Feeder until you reach the river Avon past Nethan lock, the journey and ceremony takes about two hours.
Mr Main said: “They’re Bristolian, most are born and bred in Bristol, why shouldn’t they have somewhere in Bristol to scatter their ashes?”
Parag Bhatt, from Bristol Hindu Temple, estimated there were about 10,000 Hindus in Bristol and the surrounding area.
He added: “It’s not just the Bristol Hindu community that’s going to benefit, it will be other communities like the Sikh and Buddhist as well.
“The only reason we take them to the Ganges is because they don’t have a place in Bristol or nearby where they can disperse the ashes.
He explained that after a cremation Hindus wait for an auspicious day to go to a riverbank and scatter the ashes.
“When the ashes are dispersed within the water the ashes actually dissolve and then they will meet one of the rivers Hindus refer to as holy.
“Somewhere in the world they all meet together so the meaning behind it is the body would be purified and after that the individual soul will go to heaven and to God.”
Hopefully now the Sikh and Hindu communities will go from no options to a choice either riverbank or from a boat, both have their advantages – the first: no restriction on numbers and low cost. The second offers privacy, a unique location and somewhere to reflect and/or celebrate that life.