Kingsbury Temple marks Diwali and New Year with tribute to NHS
- Credit: Kingsbury Temple
Diwali has given a Kingsbury temple the chance to host its first public event since the Covid pandemic closed its door.
Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, in Kingsbury Road, did not hosting fireworks this year due to social distancing cares.
However, people saw the visual delight of a "fantastic" mountain of food display - Annakut - in front of the golden shrine inside the temple.
November 5 marked the first day of 2078 in the Hindu calendar where worshippers all over the world place offerings before their God.
Dr Mahesh Varsani, trustee of Kingsbury Temple, said as well as placing offerings before their God, Diwali is "also to reflect on the previous year and our conduct and start afresh so we ask forgiveness from everybody."
He added: "It's also a time of reflection to be grateful for what we have and to think about who we have lost in the past year and pray for them.
"This is really poignant this year because last year we weren't able to come in to the temple and do our prayers properly.
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"Since 2019 this is the first time we've been able to come on the Diwali and new year to physically pray for our young ones we've lost due to the pandemic."
The temple was the first in the UK, and possibly Europe, to open as a Covid vaccination centre at the height of the pandemic.
"Part of the food display is also to recognise the efforts of people who have really supported us throughout the pandemic, in particular the NHS.
"We have a feature where we basically say thank you to the NHS for supporting us, for being there. They were there whilst we were in lockdown, but they were actively working and treating us."
Looking forward Dr Varsani said: "We were the first Hindu temple around the world to be a vaccination centre and we feel that was important. It was an important step for the country to prepare for some level of normality
"We know things are still not quite right, we are still in the pandemic but we're trying to find a way out and vaccinations are a major way out of it.
"There's hope out there. Diwali and New Year is a symbol of hope and new beginnings and that's what we are hoping for."
The temple is open until 6pm. Book a free ticket at www.swaminarayangadi.com/london/