A site where Sikhs and Hindus can scatter the funeral ashes of their loved ones, has been officially opened in Wales. First of a kind, the site is on the River Taff at Llandaff Rowing Club in Cardiff.
The loss of a loved one is always filled with immense sadness and emotional stress. In both Hindu and Sikh communities, the last rites are a very important aspect of human life and have an obligatory ritual, whereby, after the death of a person their ashes are scattered in a river. It is believed that this provides peace to the departed soul and a smoother transition to the next life. It also provides solace to family and friends.
The first generation of our communities tended to take the ashes back to their motherland, mainly India, and scatter it in one of the holy rivers- usually Ganges. However, the latter generation, either born or have lived most of their life in the UK, prefer to scatter the ashes of their loved ones, in Wales.
For years, the Hindu and Sikh communities of Wales have been concerned with the lack of facilities for performing the last rites for the dispersal of funeral ashes of their ‘near and dear departed’ in Wales.
The lack of such facility therefore prompted the representatives of both communities, to form a joint committee “Antim Sanskar Group Wales” (ASGW) in 2012 along with Hindu Council of Wales and Sikh Communities. Their aim was to work with Cardiff Council in obtaining necessary consent, and to find a suitable site, so that the funeral ashes of the loved ones could be scattered with respect and dignity.
Promising to serve generations over the years, although the site can be used by any religious groups, they need to follow booking procedures.
It has taken several years to bring this project to completion. This site was sanctified by performing Bhumi Puja and performing of ‘Ardaas' on 22nd July 2020. This is believed, to purify the land and pave the way, for the smooth running of the site.
Dignitaries present at the opening of the site included Lord Mayor of Cardiff - Cllr Rod McKerlich, First Minister of Wales - Rt Hon Mark Drakeford, Leader of Cardiff Council- Cllr Huw Thomas, Cllr Michael Michael, Cllr Kanaya Singh, Trevor Wing (Chairman of Llandaff Rowing Club), Raj Aggarwal OBE (Indian Consulate), Gurmit Randhawa MBE, Chair of Sikh Council of Wales and other community leaders.
The event on the day started with a Hindu Prayer by Radhika Kadaba, Sikh Ardaas by Verinder Bhogal, and a welcome speech by Vimla Patel MBE (Chair), First Minister of Wales. A plaque describing the site was unveiled by Leader of Cardiff Council Cllr Huw Thomas and Cllr Michael Michael.
Hon Consul for India, Raj Aggarwal said, “I must congratulate the Antim Sanskar Group for their dedication and huge efforts in establishing this valuable site at the Llandaff Rowing Club on River Taff in Cardiff. It is a proud day for the community and Wales as this superb facility that will support the final necessary ceremonial rites for loved ones with safety and dignity.”