14th October 2013: A marble deity of Lord Shiva finally arrived at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, a journey that took over two years, many hours of craftsmanship and a four thousand mile trip from Jaipur.
Its presence was requested by members of the local Hindu community, who felt it would be helpful for staff and patients at the hospital.
The arrival of the deity was marked by Murti Sthapna (Deity Investiture Ceremony), which was especially conducted by Panditjee Anirudh Bhatt, a priest from Bristol. The University of Exeter’s Hindu Chaplain Ravindra Nathwani who has been resident in Exeter for over 40 years supported the NHS to the Trust in making this happen. Ravi described the day “I don’t have words to express how I felt when we had our murti (deity) set in front of us, in the presence of all those who took time off to be present”.
Dr Simon Harrison, Head of Chaplaincy at the Royal Devon and Exeter foundation trust commented “we are delighted at the arrival of Om Devoneshwar Mahadev at the Chaplaincy Centre. Whilst we are a small chaplaincy team and our local Hindu community is not large, it is a delight to offer hospitality and welcome to all. In the preceding months we have also been able to purchase readings, scriptures and prayers (including many in CD form) to support Hindu patients in the hospital. It all helps give our staff the confidence to provide high quality care and be sensitive to religious and spiritual needs.” Since the Murti Sthapna on Monday 14th October, the Chaplaincy Centre at the RD&E has begun regular weekly prayers led by Ravi Nathwani. This complements the existing provision for Christian, Muslim and Buddhist patients, visitors and staff to the hospital.