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A new site was officially opened in South Wales in 2021 where Sikhs and Hindus can scatter the ashes of their loved ones. In both religions, it is customary for bodies to be cremated and the ashes to be scattered in flowing water, which is then carried out to sea. The site is located at Llandaff Rowing Club in Cardiff, by the River Taff, and is the first of its kind in Wales. 

Anecdotes from the Sikh community 

Channi Kaler, a member of the Antim Sanskar Group Wales (ASGW), expressed his contentment with the opening ceremony. Mr Kaler had been looking for a suitable location for the Sikh and Hindu communities to scatter ashes since his sister nearly fell into a river while scattering their father's ashes in Pontsarn, Merthyr Tydfil, in 2012.

Mr Kaler, a Tanzanian-born Sikh who moved to Wales in 1961, teamed up with the Hindu community to create the ASGW. Together, they spent several years searching for a suitable location for performing the last rites of deceased loved ones. Eventually, the rowing club agreed to share their pontoon near Llandaff Weir with the ASGW, and now anyone can book to use the site for scattering ashes.

 This is only the second dedicated site in the UK, with the other located in Leicester. Although the pontoon has been in use since November, it hasn't been officially opened due to Covid restrictions until now. Mr Kaler, who lives in Caerphilly, is excited about the opportunity for people to have a dedicated place to perform the last rites of their loved ones.

Response of the Hindu community 

Radhika Kadaba, who is both the general secretary of the ASGW and the Hindu Council of Wales, used the alternative option to scatter her father's ashes. Due to travel restrictions, her family was unable to travel to India, where it is customary to scatter the remains in the River Ganges. She stated that the timing of the site's opening was opportune for the communities, especially after the pandemic. She mentioned that her children were able to gather a few months ago to scatter her father's ashes.

According to Vimla Patel, the chairwoman of the ASGW, the site holds significant importance for British Hindus and Sikhs who feel a strong connection to the UK and want their ashes to be scattered here as a part of their last rites. She mentioned that there are three generations of Hindus and Sikhs living in Wales who previously used to take the ashes to their motherland but now prefer to scatter them in Wales. Patel emphasized that scattering ashes at the site is an essential practice for the departed souls.

According to a spokesperson from the Cardiff council, the ASGW has been collaborating with the council for a number of years to find a suitable location where the cremated remains can be dispersed into a flowing watercourse, in keeping with the Sikh and Hindu faiths. The council and ASGW have explored several locations over the years, but the partnership with the rowing club has proven to be the best option, and the group was pleased with the suggestion. Despite facing engineering challenges and pandemic-related issues, a permanent and managed location has now been established, which will be used by both the present and future generations of the Sikh and Hindu communities.


*Based on an article by John Arkless, published in BBC News on 31st July 2021


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