Diwali 2015 in Pictures: Highlights from the Festival of Lights in London

Posted on 17th November 2015

On Wednesday 11 November, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali. In London, tens of thousands of people of all faiths gathered to celebrate the festival of lights. We take a look at some of the biggest and brightest celebrations that took place just outside Chakra’s doors.


Neasden

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, also known as the ‘Neasden Temple’, hosts the largest Diwali and Hindu New Year celebrations in the UK. This year, the Mandir celebrated Diwali in support of the UN’s International Year of Light. 

Temple volunteers spent months preparing for the remarkable event, and collected for BBC’s Children in Need appeal on the night. After participating in the puja (prayer ritual), crowds gathered in Gibbons Park to watch the spectacular fireworks display.



Willesden

At the Shree Swaminarayan temple in Willesden, over 400 worshippers cooked traditional sweets for the 10,000-strong crowd that attended a special congregation and lunch celebrations. They were joined by a film crew, who chose the temple as a backdrop for The Scent of Infinity, a film by Russian producer Luba Batagova about a troubled heiress who finds inner peace through Hinduism.

A number of local politicians joined the celebrations, including Sadiq Khan MP. Speaking to the Kilburn Times, he said: “These really are the best Diwali celebrations I’ve seen so far. I challenge you to find anywhere else in the world where you can find the whole community getting involved in a celebration like this. In places like Brent it’s great that you can find Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians or Buddhists not just tolerating each other but respecting each other. It’s what proves that London is already the best city in the world.”


Trafalgar Square

Natasha Hemmings and Chris Bramel, also known as Miss England and Mr England, joined Diwali celebrations in Trafalgar Square with Bollywood dance troupe KSPARK. KSPARK founder and internationally renowned dancer Karan Singh Pangali led a series of dance workshops after performing to a packed crowd.


In a Facebook status, Miss Hemmings said: “The atmosphere was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event. It was lovely to receive such a warm welcome from the crowd and from those that we met after in the dance workshops. It was a lovely experience for me to see and embrace these different cultures and I hope to be able to attend other festivals and events likewise throughout the year!”


Leytonstone

In Leytonstone, Tesco donated over £1,000 of food to the Shri Vallabh Nidhi temple, which works with local charities to provide vulnerable local people with food.


Tesco Borough Champion in London Elaine Price said, “As the Diwali festival is associated with generosity and giving, we’re delighted to have donated food to the local Temple in Waltham Forest and hope it will go towards supporting those in need this Diwali.”


At Chakra, we’re proud of our Indian roots, and seeing Indian culture being embraced and celebrated in London this Diwali was spectacular and wonderful. We hope you all had a fantastic Diwali!

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