December 7 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 2, 2013
Thousands of Sikhs took to the streets on Sunday to walk for more than four hours as part of an annual procession.
More than 10,000 people took part in the colourful procession from Barking gurdwara to Singh Sabha Gurdwara, High Road, Seven Kings.
The celebration has happened in Redbridge for the past 15 years and pop-up stands marked the route with people giving out free food to anyone passing by.
Mankamal Singh, 39, treasurer of the gurdwara in Seven Kings, said: “We love eating and feeding so when you have these processions lots of people, out of their own pocket, give out free food.”
The celebration is called Nagar Kirtan and commemorates the revelation of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji which is seen as the living embodiment of the Sikh gurus.
The procession is led by five religious figures followed by a float containing the Guru Granth Sahib.
Mr Singh said: “It was a great atmosphere and beautiful weather and great company. Everyone was really uplifted.”
The procession started at the Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Barking at 11.30am and the devotees reached Seven Kings at about 4pm.
“It’s a long walk but it’s very rewarding,” Mr Singh added.
The float, carrying the holy scripture, was decorated with flowers and various colourful fabrics.
“It’s decorated with different flowers and people work very hard to get the float ready,” Mr Singh said. “
Once the procession reached the Seven Kings gurdwara there was an evening of hymns and prayers with people celebrating into the early evening.
Mr Singh said that it is one of the few occasions that the well established Sikh community have the opportunity to all meet up together.
He said: “All ages were there from children up to the elderly. It’s only at times like this that we all get together and see each other as a community.”