A father described as a “true gentleman and a great asset to the Hindu community” has died of cancer aged 72.
Achhar Paul Dharni, who received an MBE in 2009 for his dedication and commitment to Bradford, was well-known for masterminding the completion of the £4 million Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple on Leeds Road.
The temple, which Mr Dharni insisted should be built with Yorkshire stone while also being a superb example of Hindu Temple architecture, was opened by the Queen and Prince Philip in May 2007.
His family said: “The temple is a real symbol of British Hindus living in Yorkshire and Britain. Mr Dharni used this project to unite all communities in Bradford behind this project. The temple is the first ever Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple in the whole of Europe.”
Mr Dharni, who came to England from India in 1962 after completing a degree in English from Punjab University, leaves a wife, Nirmal, five children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.
His family said: “He was a true gentleman and a great asset of the Hindu community, a much-loved and devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and uncle.
“It is due to his stead-fast qualities that Bradford has witnessed such a magnificent Hindu Mandir, which will always remain his hallmark of devotion, dedication, hard work, sincerity, generous and above all strong will power.”
Mr Dharni, of Luther Way, received two lifetime achievement awards, one from Bradford Council in 2005 and one at the Asian Jewel Awards in 2008.
He also became a Doctor of the University of Bradford in 2009.
Mr Dharni’s funeral is on Saturday. The last rites will take place at 8.30am at Shri Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple, Leeds Road, before cremation at 10.30am at Scholemoor Cemetery on Necropolis Road, and then Rasam Pagari and lunch at the temple at 12.30pm.