Biswanath Patnaik, a UK-based billionaire from Odisha, has pledged Rs 250 crore to a UK charity raising funds to build Britain’s first dedicated Jagannath temple on the outskirts of London, according to a Times of India report. This is one of the biggest donations ever offered to a temple outside of India.
The Shree Jagannatha Society UK (SJSUK) received word of the Odia billionaire's commitment during the UK's inaugural Jagannath Convention, which was held on Akshaya Trithiya on Sunday.
Patnaik, chairman and founder of the investment firm FinNest Group of Companies, encouraged Jagannath devotees to work together and realise the dream of building a Jagannath temple in the UK.
Jagannath temple construction
The Jagannath temple construction, has been speeding ahead, with ₹70 crore of the ₹250 crore being earmarked for acquiring nearly 15 acres of suitable land on the outskirts of London, as per a Times of India report. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
The temple was promised by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his election campaign, as per a New Indian Express report.
During the announcement of the donation, Dr Sahadev Swain, chair of the Sree Jagannatha Society UK, expressed his confidence that the Jagannath temple in London will become the epicentre of Jagannath culture in Europe and a prominent place of pilgrimage, attracting thousands of devotees and tourists from across the world.