FOR some, memories of religion from childhood include getting dressed up in your Sunday best and taking first holy communion, or being dragged along on while trying to get an extra five minutes in bed.

But Bolton showed how faith can continue to be relevant and bring communities together during one of the Bolton Interfaith Council's regular faith trail's, which feature a visit to a mosque, a Hindu temple and a church.

About two dozen visitors followed the trail, and were given an immersive tour of how the different religions and faiths work.

It included visits to the Zakariyya Mosque in Derby Street, the Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple in Deane Road and Emmanuel Church in Vicarage Street.

"People are invited to ask anything, there are no silly questions when we do our faith trails," explains Chan Parmar, who runs the interfaith council.

"There were a lot of questions in the mosque for example about the different pillars of Islam, why Muslims take the pilgrimage to Hajj, and how many times a day they pray."

As a lapsed Catholic myself and former altar boy, my memories of the church are of a very traditional, conservative setting, so it is an interesting experience to take in other forms of worship.

Small things such as taking your shoes off before entering a place of worship also stick in the memory.

"Taking shoes off shows that your heart is clean and ready to receive God, and that you leave the dirt from your shoes and everything else outside," Mr Parmar said.

It is relatively minor things like this, which people of other faiths may misunderstand or question, that makes the faith trails an important avenue in promoting people of differing faiths coming together in Bolton.

Mr Parmar said: "It is all part of promoting cohesion in the community, and it is a way of breaking down barriers. Religions have a lot in common and it is about sharing this and promoting it.

"The level of understanding in Bolton is quite good in Bolton. The communities in the town are always changing with new people moving in so it is something we have to work on and improve all the time.

"In the last census it showed that 78 per cent of people in Bolton had faith. It is also open to people of no faith, we are trying to break down barriers and encourage understanding."

Often in life unfamiliarity and a lack of awareness can breed contempt and hate, so visiting different places of worship is a vital tool.

Mamji Halai, the president of the temple, said he believes such events and promoting cohesion is a positive move.

The temple, which is one of the oldest in Bolton, is a colourful place to be and is a world away from other places of worship more familiar to Catholics such as myself.

It started operating in a terraced house in Bolton in the 1960s after its original congregation first moved from India, with many of the men working in the town’s cotton mills.

Mr Halai said: "We always welcome people to visit and experience our worship, and it is very good that people came in as part of the faith trail."

Norman Moran, a leader at the Griffin Explorer Scout Unit in Astley Bridge, was one of those who attended.

He said: "It was certainly an eye opener and an insight into the workings of some of our fellow Boltonian's, in how and where they worship.

"Not only were we allowed to visit their places of worship but by the way the speakers informed us openly of their faith and cultures allayed many of the myths that are banded around and grow and fester in peoples minds."