Bristol Hindu Temple thanks the Queen for supporting their faith

The Hindu community in Bristol has paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in a special ceremony held on Sunday 18 September.

At the Bristol Hindu Temple, on Church Road in Redfield, members gathered to pray for the Queen and honour her legacy.

For 16 days each September, the Hindu community takes part in Shraddha. During this period, rituals are performed to remember ancestors, by offering prayers and food.

All generations came together to pay tribute to the late Queen. Credit: ITV West Country

Rasik Patel, chair of the Bristol Hindu Temple, says Her Majesty was a very important figure for his community: "It's great for all of is to be here, to remember our Queen. She was a great lady and she has done so much for this country, the Commonwealth and around the world."

Panditji Kamlesh Vyas, the temple's priest, said he will never forget the day he met Her Majesty on 10 June 2002.

He received an invitation from the Queen to go to Buckingham Palace - people from many different faiths had been invited.

Panditji Vyas recalled the conversation they had: "I said to the Queen, as a Hindu I am privileged and honoured to be invited here to Buckingham Palace. She replied, 'that's what England is for.'

Panditji Vyas keeps his Buckingham Palace invitation to meet the Queen framed in his office. Credit: ITV West Country

"It was an amazing experience and I will never forget it. I framed the invitation and keep it by my desk. It's my proud possession"

The Bristol Hindu temple is the only one in the city and surrounding area. Thousands of people go every week and enjoy being part of a big community. As well as religious practices, members enjoy many social gatherings.

Ila Shrimanker, vice chair of the temple, said the temple provides a space for people to 'feel free' and 'to be themselves'.

The Bristol Hindu Temple is on Church Road in Redfield. Credit: ITV West Country

She added that it was important for people to get the chance to say goodbye to the Queen: "It doesn't matter what god you believe in. Whether it's Jesus or Allah or Nanak. Yes the Queen was not Hindu, but we just wanted to say thank you. We'll miss her."

During the ceremony, people spoke about what Her Majesty and her reign meant to them, hymns were sung and food was offered to god.

The ceremony was centred on giving thanks to Her Majesty and all she did to embrace their faith.