Spiritual Life: What next for the great Hindu temples of Redbridge?

Pranav Bhanot. Photo: Vineet Johri

Pranav Bhanot asks will happen to Redbridge's Hindu temples - Credit: Vineet Johri

The Covid-19 new normal is not so new anymore and the world has learnt to adapt to the status quo.

With the Hindu temples of Redbridge historically being epicentres of vibrant gatherings and booming communal prayer, these spiritual buildings have been left bare, with nothing more than echoes of times gone by.

Over the past 10 months, many British followers of the world’s oldest religion have adopted differing strategies of expressing prayer, learning about their religion and practising spirituality, whether through 21st century innovation via video calls, social media, YouTube (eg Shashi Gossain’s “SimpleHinduism.com”) or through simply spending more time connecting with nature during their daily permitted exercise.

According to a 2020 survey of 1,500 British Hindus conducted by the British Hindu Report team,  55.7 per cent of Hindus partake in prayer or spiritual practice every day or a few times a week. Only 22.6pc attended a temple to do so, with 72.7pc preferring to partake in such activities at home. With an increasing number of people acclimatised to spending more time at home and using technology, what next, for the great Hindu temples of Redbridge?

It is unclear whether the 'good old days' of hundreds flocking to temples to take part in the hustle and bustle of festival season will return anytime soon. Even if the government did permit the same, it is to be seen whether an appetite to attend such large gatherings would exist with the same pre-Covid-19 vigour.

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What is clear, however, is if such temples are going to continue to thrive in the future, innovation will need to be at the heart of every management committee. Perhaps with every priest recruited, the recruitment of a chief temple innovation officer would be welcome to assess where such illustrious places of worship go from here.

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