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Indian independence celebrated in Ilford with visit by Hindu holy man

PUBLISHED: 15:10 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 16 August 2017

Trisha Goel, 3, peeks out from behind a chair at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre on 15th August, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Trisha Goel, 3, peeks out from behind a chair at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre on 15th August, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Catherine Davison

There were celebrations this week as residents marked the 70th anniversary of the independence of India.

Swami Anand Giri preaches at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre on 15th August, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonSwami Anand Giri preaches at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre on 15th August, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

On Tuesday, Redbridge’s Hindu population congregated at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre, in Cleveland Road, for a celebration in the evening.

Hindu holy man Swami Anand Giri, who comes from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh in northern India, is visiting the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre for the sixth time.

The spiritual leader, who is speaking every evening until August 20 between 6.30 and 8pm, is attracting hundreds of people to the temple every night for his talks and sessions of yoga.

Celebrations were also ongoing on Tuesday night to celebrate the advent of Lord Krishna’s birthday – a festival known as Janmashtami.

Ashrith Gour, 9 months, with mum Garima Gour, at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre on 15th August, 2017. Picture: Catherine DavisonAshrith Gour, 9 months, with mum Garima Gour, at the VHP Ilford Hindu Centre on 15th August, 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Organiser Amit Kapoor said the three celebrations at the centre, in Cleveland Road, Ilford, had made the event very special.

He said: “People were queuing out the door, it was a very busy night at the temple.

“We all enjoyed the storytelling and teachings, it was really lovely.”

This was followed by a boisterous lunch at Punjabi Tarka, in High Road, Ilford, on Wednesday, which was organised by the Redbridge Indian Welfare Association (RIWA).

Club secretary Vasant Mahandru said he was proud to celebrate his country’s heritage and culture.

He said: “Obviously it’s the 70th year of India’s independence and there has been so much said about it.

“Lots of Indian people have established very good businesses over here. It’s great to see that bhangra music is becoming very popular too.

“And yoga is being practised in lots of schools now, it’s great to see.

“We know that we are proud to be English but at the same time, it’s great to have an opportunity to celebrate our culture and heritage.”

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