London: Britain's Prince Charles was on Friday presented with a special Ahimsa Award for his compassion and tolerance towards humankind, animals and nature by a Jain temple here.
The heir to the British throne visited the Jain Derasar temple at Potters Bar in Hertfordshire to mark the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Jainology.
"We all have a duty to work for greater harmony between the religions of the world, especially when, as now, tolerance is being so severely tested," the 66-year-old royal told hundreds of guests at the event.
"At a particularly heightened time of anxiety for us all when horrific violence is being inflicted on so many people around the world supposedly in the name of a particular faith by people who have monstrously distorted the original message of its founder it is of greater importance to recognise your ancient yet constant message of reverence of what is sacred and to appeal for greater tolerance and understanding of people of different faiths or of none at all," he added.
The Institute of Jainology was established in London with an aim to promote Jain principles of compassion and non-violence towards all living beings.
"In honour of the institute's 25 years, a special Ahimsa Anniversary Award has been presented to Prince Charles for his work fostering inter-faith dialogue, a better understanding of different religions and for passion for defending the environment and nature," it said in a statement.
"The compassionate Prince is known for his keen understanding and study of the various religions that are practised not only in Britain but abroad. He is recognised for fostering a dialogue between the West and Islam, the statement added.
Completed in 2005, Jain Derasar is the largest Jain temple in the UK and the only one in Europe to be constructed employing ancient Indian architectural styles.
The temple is a collaboration of Indian architecture working in conjunction with British architects and engineers.
It is built on beams and counter-balance and, like in ancient times, the building contains no steel. It is located on 80 acres of green belt land surrounded by lush landscaped gardens.