Neasden Temple marks Diwali with spectacular firework display launched by government's Priti Patel MP
PUBLISHED: 18:14 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:57 29 October 2019
Spectacular fireworks lit up the sky on Sunday as crowds flocked to Neasden Temple to celebrate Diwali.
Home Secretary Priti Patel MP was guest of honour at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir for its "Festival of Light" on Sunday.
Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil and visitors and worshippers arrived at the Mandir in Brentfield Road throughout the day to offer their prayers and respects.
Following the assembly, thousands of worshippers and visitors gathered for a pyromusical fireworks display that was launched by Ms Patel who wished a "happy Diwali to all".
"Diwali is a very special time for friends, family and everyone in the community, and [also a time] to think of those less fortunate than we are," she said.
She urged the gathering to "reflect upon the credible strong ties between the great nations of the United Kingdom and India and to think of the shared future and values that we believe in very strongly."
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The Deputy High Commissioner of India to the UK, His Excellency Mr Charanjeet Singh, also joined the congregation and conveyed his own personal Diwali wishes to all.
The first ceremony to celebrate the Hindu New Year the following day began at 5.30am, followed by prayers for world peace, social well-being and righteous prosperity.
The event was attended by the High Commissioner of India to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam who paid tribute to the efforts of the volunteers involved in planning and delivering the festival.
As part of the devotional festivities, an annakut - literally, 'mountain of food' - was arranged as an offering of the first meal of the New Year made in thanksgiving to God and to seek his blessings for the year ahead.
Tarun Patel, a volunteer at Neasden Temple, said:"His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj always promotes unity within families, society and across the world.
"The celebrations at the Mandir were a testimony of unity with people of all faiths and backgrounds coming together to enjoy the festivities, as well as young and senior volunteers working together to provide an enriching experience for all."