Aberdeen Hindus spice up bid to raise funds for new temple


When Aakanksha Sadekar speaks it is with the exhilaration of youth, but also a wisdom beyond her 25 years.

This is a young woman who is campaigning for the creation of Aberdeen’s first Hindu temple and who works in the testosterone-laced world of petroleum engineering.

And she is also the executive officer of the National Indian Students Association with responsibility for the whole of Scotland.

It presents her with a hectic schedule, but Aakanksha is abrim with natural ebullience and is in the process of organising an Indian Food Festival at Mile End School on November 8.

It promises to be a delicious experience, given the fashion in which she reeled off a sumptuous array of dishes: everything from chicken kathi kebabs and bhelpuri to fresh dosas and mano and coconut ladoo.

But there is a serious purpose to the event and one which Aakanksha is equally passionate about.

  (There will be no shortage of delicious fare at the Indian Food Festival (Aakanksha Sadekar))

“We’ll have at least 25 stalls and there will be food, sampling, and Bollywood music, all of it very reasonably priced,” Aakanksha said.

“People might think they are familiar with Indian food, but most of the ‘Indian’ restaurants in Aberdeen are actually run by people from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“As Hindus, we are in a relative minority, but we still think we will be able to surprise and delight visitors to the festival with food they haven’t tasted before.”

  (Indian food is hugely popular in the north east of Scotland (STV))

In the bigger picture, the Hindu community has to travel to Glasgow to find a place of worship at the moment.

Aakanksha and her colleagues involved in the charity Aberdeen Hindu Temple Trust are determined to change that.

They are seeking planning permission on a site at Balmedie – not far from Donald Trump’s golf course – to construct a new temple in a project which could cost upwards of £2m.

  (Aberdonians are warmly invited to attend the Indian Food Festival (AHTT))

“In the past, there was some division about the best way to go forward with this proposal,” said Aakanksha. “People had different ideas and they couldn’t reach agreement.

“Recently though, we have all come together, we are united and we are talking to different people, from businesses in Aberdeen to colleagues in England.

“We know that most of the Asian community in the region is not Hindu, but we plan to open our doors to everybody when the temple is built.”

One suspects the quiet resolve and resilience of Aakanksha has been pivotal to the venture advancing in the right direction.

She isn’t looking for glory. Instead, she is fostering relationships with as many groups as possible to bring the temple scheme to fruition.

Source: stv aberdeen