Onlookers line the streets for colourful parade celebrating Kingsbury Temple's fifth anniversary
PUBLISHED: 16:32 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:43 29 August 2019
Thousands took to the streets of Kingsbury to watch a colourful parade to mark a Hindu temple's fifth anniversary.
Global spiritual leader HDH (His Divine Holiness) Acharya Swamishree Maharaj was held aloft in a golden chariot during the grand parade of Maninagar Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan Shree Swaminarayan Mandir (Kingsbury Temple).
Onlookers, mostly families with young children, lined the three-mile route to see the parade, which saw dancers, floats and musicians led by the Mandir's prestigious Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band.
The Queen's Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London, Simon Ovens, Brent North MP Barry Gardiner (Lab), and Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt were among the guests at the parade on Saturday.
Celebrations started at St Luke's Hospice in nearby Kenton, one of several charity partners the Mandir supports. To date, it has raised £60,000 for the hospice.
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Acharya Swamishree Maharaj presented the charity with a cheque for £10,000, the sum the temple has raised this year.
The Mandir opened in 2014 and lauded for its green credentials.
A spokesperson added: "The temple has over the past five years become a pillar in the local community by offering many charitable, sporting, educational and arts activities and showcases.
"Moreover, it has stood as a beacon of sustainable living and environmental protection, inspiring the community to live greener - a message that is perhaps even more relevant today, given the current climate crisis."
The pipe band was one of only six civilian bands commemorating war heroes at the 2018 Rememembrance Day service in Whitehall to mark the centenary of the Armistice. A wreath from Acharya Swamishree Maharaj was laid by trustee of Kingsbury Temple, Dr Mahesh Varsani, who said at the time: "It is a matter of great pride that our band is able to honour all of the Armed Forces, and the very significant Indian contribution to the Great War."
Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, leader of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan - a worldwide organisation dedicated to the progression of spiritual, social and cultural value - is in the UK to spread his message of peace, unity and tolerance, the spokesperson added.