Crowds in Ilford celebrate nine-day Hindu festival Navratri

11:30 20 April 2013

Prayers were read and flowers and seeds distributed at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre

Prayers were read and flowers and seeds distributed at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre


Barley seeds were planted, food was eaten and mantras were chanted at a Hindu temple as a nine-day festival kicked off.

The seeds, which are considered to be precious, were planted and placed in front of a statue of goddess Durga at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre, Cleveland Road, Ilford.

Some Hindus will fast during the festival of Navratri as an act of devotion to Lord Vishnu.

The festival, which started last week, marks when Lord Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, came down to Earth in human form.

Vijay Khetarpal, secretary of the temple, said: “Barley seeds are the most precious seeds of them all. After nine days they will grow into long grass.

“They are planted in a small pot in the temple and placed in front of Goddess Durga. She’s the goddess of truth and power.”

More than 300 people went to the temple on Thursday of last week but numbers reached up to 1,000 over the weekend.

Mr Khetarpal said: “We visit the temple during the festival.

“When the seeds grow it means the gods are happy with the offering and it has been accepted. It makes you really happy, healthy and brings prosperity into everybody’s home.”

The temple’s priest Dharmeh Mista performed the opening ritual, together with some of the members of the congregation.

“It started with the recital of Ganesh’s mantra and then the priest explained why we are celebrating,” Mr Khetarpal added.

“After that sweets, fruits and nuts are eaten, which is a tradition.”

People visiting temples sing and chant mantras and devotional songs and there are also prayers and food is prepared for everyone.

After the ceremony, members of the congregation ate a vegetarian meal together – something which will be repeated on each day of the festival.

Mr Khetarpal said: “It’s a joyful festival and people greet and visit each other and wear colourful clothes. There’s lots of laughing.”


Latest Ilford News Stories

Ziggy Owusu

A 19-year-old stabbed to death in Goodmayes yesterday was a “good guy” who was trying to break up a fight, friends have said.

41 minutes ago
The stretch of Hainault Road between Billet Road and Painters Road where the accident occured last night. Photo: Google maps

Police are appealing for witnesses after a passenger suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash last night.

Valentines Mansion, Emerson Road, Ilford IG1 4XA - Launch of the Thames Gateway Business Awards.
Left to right: Aspers Head of Marketing Sean Langley, Aspers Marketing Manager Debbie Mazs, Archant Executive Editor Michael Adkins, Archant Commercial Director Tony Little and Bilal Sheikh from Mont Rose College

This year’s Thames Gateway Business Awards ceremony, the highlight of the business calendar throughout east London and Essex, is taking place tonight.

Niall Joyce

Whether you have a front page story or an event that you would like to promote, head on down to our community surgery at Costa Coffee, Ilford, today to tell our reporter all about it.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now