Karva Chauth 2018: Hundreds of Hindu married couples fast for safety and long life in Ilford

PUBLISHED: 10:40 31 October 2018

Worshippers mark Karva Chauth in VHP Temple, in Cleveland Road. Photo: Ravi Bhanot

Worshippers mark Karva Chauth in VHP Temple, in Cleveland Road. Photo: Ravi Bhanot


About 2,000 worshippers from across the capital gathered at an Ilford Hindu temple at the end of a long day of autumn fasting to mark Karva Chauth.

Worshippers mark Karva Chauth in VHP Temple, in Cleveland Road. Photo: Ravi Bhanot Worshippers mark Karva Chauth in VHP Temple, in Cleveland Road. Photo: Ravi Bhanot

Married couples gathered in their droves at the VHP Temple, in Cleveland Road, on Saturday, October 27.

Originating in northern India, the festival had traditionally seen Hindu wives, and some Sikh wives, observe a fast without food or water – known as nirjala – from sunrise to sunset.

The purpose is to secure the safety and long life of their husbands.

But an increasing number of men, particularly among younger generations, now take part.

“It’s nice to see so many young and old women celebrate this fast,” said Ravi Bhanot, a committee member of the VHP temple.

“Though traditionally married women kept this fast for the long and healthy lives of their husbands, the tradition has evolved.”

He added: “A lot of men now keep this fast too for the reciprocal long life of their wives.

“The event is a bit like Valentine’s Day without the commercialism,” he added.

The day saw women, and some men, wake up at 5am and begin the day with a sergi, a breakfast meal, traditionally consisting of a dish called seni, which is similar to rice pudding.

Worshippers then commenced their day-long fast which can only be broken when they can see the moon.

In the evening, women gathered inside the VHP temple wearing henna tattoos and dressed mostly in red, the ceremony’s official colour according to worshipper Sushma Bhanot.

They then stood in a circle and exchange trays, known as thalis, bearing wheat and rice while a Hindu priest recounted folk stories.

After the ceremony, the women returned home to break their fast.

Sangita Goyal Big, 56, travelled to the event from her home in Barnet.

Commenting on the change in attitudes to the festival, she said: “It’s the way I have been brought up – I am happy to keep it for husbands.

“The younger generation, they have this issue, they want their husbands to fast for them because the world has changed.”

Latest Ilford Stories


Gallagher, the proud title partner of Premiership Rugby, has launched a nationwide competition for community rugby clubs to win a training session coached by their local Gallagher Premiership Rugby club.


It’s official - a planning application to demolish the former Bodgers site has been received by Redbridge Council.


Essex club have performed well in previous games this term against teams near the top

Woodford Town will take their growing following to Walthamstow on Saturday eager to win two battles


Herons were without a game last Saturday owing to break in league fixtures


Romford director of football Alex Goldstone is hoping his new role as manager of Barkingside can be beneficial to both parties.

Neighbours left fuming after the council asked them to fork out £20,000 for planned repairs by 2023 could see their bills halved.

The O’s legend explained how he got involved in ‘The Greater Game’ and praised the club bringing out the commemorative kit


Are you an unpaid carer aged 25 or over? Are you interested in working towards getting into or back into work? Do you need practical help and support to get ready for this big step? If your answer is yes to at least two of these questions read on.

Struggling to find a buyer for your home in a slower market? We speak to Ilford property expert Nina Kaura from Portico about the Crossrail effect and why getting things right first time will get you the best price for your property.

Exchange Ilford is a shopping centre on a mission to make it a more welcoming and accessible place to the people of Redbridge.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now