Hinduism in the United Kingdom

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British Hindus
Total population
558,342 (2001)
1.0% of the UK Population
Regions with significant populations
Indian Languages

Hinduism has been in the United Kingdom since the early 19th century. Hindus are the second largest minority group in the UK.

British Hindus[edit]

The British Hindu population includes those who came directly from the Indian sub-continent, descendants of those Hindus who had originally migrated to other countries and those born and raised in the UK. It is not unusual to find third or fourth generation Hindus in the UK.

There have been three waves of migration of Hindus in the UK. The first wave was before India's independence in 1947. In the early 1960s the Conservative Health Minister the Rt Hon Enoch Powell recruited a large number of doctors from the Indian sub-continent. The second wave occurred in the 1970s mainly from East Africa. The later communities included those from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius and Fiji. The last wave of migration began in the 1990s and included Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and professionals including doctors and software engineers from India.


Hinduism was the religion of 558,342 people in the United Kingdom according to the 2001 census[1] but an estimate in a British newspaper in 2007 has put the figure as high as 1.5 Million.[2] According to the 2011 census, 816,633 Hindus live in England and Wales with the figure for Scotland yet to be released. Most Hindus in the UK live in England, with half living in London alone,[3] but small communities also exist in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Temples and Organisations[edit]

UK-wide Hindu organisations include The National Council of Hindu Temples UK, the oldest UK-wide Hindu organisation comprising over 300 Hindu Temples and Hindu Faith Organisations,[4] The Hindu Council UK representing almost 400 affiliated cultural and religious organisations of various Hindu denominations including temples,[5] and The Hindu Forum of Britain, with nearly 300 member organisations.[6]

There are over 150 Hindu Temples in the UK [7] with 30 Temples in the London area.[8] Slough Hindu Temple was built by the Slough Hindu Cultural Society - formally opened in 1981 - it was the first purpose-built Hindu Temple in the British Isles. However, the first Hindu Temple in the UK was opened in the late 1920s near Earls Court in London and it was functional for about four years.[9]

Some of the most notable Hindu-based organisations in the UK include the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Swaminarayan (BAPS), the Chinmaya Mission, Ramakrishna Mission and Sai Organisation, each having large followings. SHYAM, an educational Hindu organisation teaches the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Shrimad Bhagavad, Vedas and Upanishads.[10]

For details of Hinduism in each country of the United Kingdom, see:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UK 2001 census
  2. ^ Hindu school is first to make vegetarianism a condition of entry | Schools special reports | EducationGuardian.co.uk
  3. ^ Minority religions mainly in London. National Statistics. Accessed 5 Jun 2006.
  4. ^ [1] National Council of Hindu Temples UK, accessed 3 August 2009
  5. ^ Affiliates Hindu Council UK, accessed 4 August 2009
  6. ^ About us About us, accessed 12 December 2008
  7. ^ [2] Hindu Temples in the UK, accessed 4 August 2014
  8. ^ [3] 30 Temples in the London area
  9. ^ Bimal Krishnadas (edited by), Directory of Hindu Temples in the UK, 2004-2006, page 7, published by the National Council of Hindu Trmples (UK), Leicester.
  10. ^ [4]

External links[edit]