WRITTEN BY: PARINITA GUPTA
(August 05, 2023) After spending many years in the banking sector, Biswanath Patnaik switched to entrepreneurship. He founded the FinNest Group of Companies, a private equity investment firm focused on renewables. Through FinNest, he set up a dedicated team in the UK and started offering partnerships in the technology and marketing space. After ten years of successful equity investments, Biswanath decided to give back to the society that helped him in creating his dream and bringing it to life.
On the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Trithiya 2023, Biswanath made a generous pledge of Rs. 250 crore towards the construction of Britain’s first Jagannath Temple. The Shree Jagannatha Society UK (SJSUK), a UK-based charity, received this donation, which is one of the largest philanthropic contributions to a temple outside India. Arun Kar, the MD of FinNest, is also a major contributor to the cause.
“Lord Jagannatha is worshipped by many of the diverse religious sampradayas, each in their own way. Lord Jagannatha is also worshipped by Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. This universal all-inclusive dimension of the tradition of Lord Jagannatha reminds us that we are all children of the one divine father (vasudhaiva kutumbakam) and co-travelers on the path to divinity,” said Biswanath.
The construction of Britain’s first Jagannath Temple is moving forward at a swift pace, with Rs 70 crore, from the pledged Rs 250 crore, allocated for acquiring around 15 acres of land on the outskirts of London. The project architects have submitted a pre-planning application to the local council, indicating progress in the temple’s construction. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
“A suitable property for the temple has been chosen and is currently in the final stages of purchase. Additionally, a pre-planning application has been submitted to the local government council to obtain permission for the temple’s construction,” said the Global Indian. The entrepreneur of Odia descent made this commitment during UK’s first-ever Jagannath Convention.
The first-ever Jagannath Convention saw over 600 worshippers from across the UK and Ireland, which was the first of its kind in Europe. The event featured prominent personalities such as Sujit Ghosh, the Deputy High Commissioner of India, and Amish Tripathi, an accomplished author and minister at the Indian High Commission.
“The temple has the potential to be the symbol of Jagannath culture in Europe and a pilgrim hotspot drawing in thousands of devotees and tourists from around the world,” Dr. Sahadev Swain, Chairperson of Shree Jagannatha Society UK. Biswanath Patnaik has been featured on the cover of Forbes magazine and is also a UNESCO donor.