'Keeping the faith': How this Wellingborough religious community thrived in lockdown

Hundreds of worshippers used to attend the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Wellingborough on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

It was part of a routine that was everyday life.

But when the pandemic came, the temple had to shut its doors - and they are still not fully reopen.

Raksha with her husband and child Credit: ITV Anglia

The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on Mill Road in Wellingborough is dedicated to a denomination of Hinduism that was started in 1905 in India, and has over a million followers.

In 1994, their spiritual leader His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited this small corner of Britain from India.

His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj visiting Wellingborough. Credit: ITV Anglia

Throngs of worshippers came to greet him, in scenes that live long in the memory.

Just as well, as such gatherings have been non-existent for much of the past 18 months.

To keep people engaged with the temple, volunteers have been continuing charity work, and encouraging worshippers to take part in prayers online, hosted by their denomination's main British temple in Neasden.

Pre pandemic worship at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Wellingborough Credit: BAPS Wellingborough

Many churches, mosques, temples and other places of worship have now reopened.

Those in charge at this temple hope they too, will soon follow suit.