Thousands at opening of Hindu temple
Thousands of people queued for hours to visit a new Hindu temple.
The Shri Shirdi Sai Baba temple, at the grade II-listed former Guild of Disabled building, in Colton Street, Leicester, is the second of its kind in the UK and follows the teachings of Baba, a Hindu guru born in 1835.
Bhavisha Narotam, 24, from Evington, Leicester, visited with her cousins, who had travelled from London for the opening.
"It has been the most amazing experience," she said.
"It has been a really lovely day and made people remember how important it is to help others.
"When I got to see the Sai Baba statue it was very spiritual and seeing it made me feel very happy.
"It is very significant for me to have this temple in Leicester and I am sure the attendance and donations will really increase.
"People queued from 6am to get in and see the temple. But people do not mind waiting because it is a blessing."
Baba's teachings focus on patience.
Rita Jivanji, 32, from Rushey Mead, Leicester, was one of the volunteers helping to co-ordinate the day.
"It has all gone really well," she said.
"We are very happy to have this temple here and I'm very proud to be here for the opening.
"So many people have come today from all over because they want to see their Baba's temple.
"People are very excited because so many devotees wanted this temple here in Leicester."
Inside the temple a fire was set up in front of a statue of Baba, with offerings placed in the flames.
Families queued up to receive food.
Cousins Dhruvika Durcadas, nine, and Diya Hasmuklal, 10, from Melton Road, Leicester, went to the temple to pray.
Dhruvika said: "We were amazed when we saw inside the temple."Diya said: "We really like it."
The organisation's first temple was opened in Wembley, London, in January 2010.
A member of the management team at the temple said he hoped the opening would spread the message of treating others with politeness and helping the needy, as well as having trust and patience.
The Guild of Disabled building, completed in 1909, is believed to have been the first building in Britain – and possibly the world – to have been designed to be wheelchair-friendly.