The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited three of London’s Hindu temples to mark the annual celebration of the Festival of Lights and thanked the Hindu community for the contribution they make to the capital.
Starting at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Willesden, the Mayor next visited Shree Sanatan Mandir in Wembley and finished at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden. At each of the three temples Sadiq met with faith and community leaders and celebrated the end of Diwali and the Hindu New Year with the local congregation.
Last month the Mayor attended the annual Diwali celebration in Trafalgar Square, where thousands enjoyed music and dance performances, food and drink, market stalls selling Indian crafts, and activities for the whole family, as well as spectacular light installations and projections.
Mayor Sadiq Khan, said, “I’m delighted to be celebrating Diwali with London’s Hindu community and thank them for the amazing contribution they make to the capital and to and our country as a whole.
“Diwali’s central message of peace and mutual respect is one that I know all Londoners support – we are a city that celebrates our differences, and London is open to all. During this wonderful festival of lights, we come together to reflect on the past year together, and mark the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. From my family to yours, Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year.”
Sanjay Khetani, Swaminarayan Temple Willesden, said, "It was great meeting the Mayor of London today. To me, Diwali is the time when we spend time with family members and friends. We exchange gifts with each other and look forward to the year ahead.
“Diwali is celebrated when Ram, Sita and Lakshman return from their 14 years in exile. Upon their return, candles were lit on the ground so they could see the road ahead in the dark.”
Narendra Thakrar, Chairman of Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir, Wembley, said, “It was a great pleasure to welcome The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan today on this auspicious occasion of Festival of Lights and our Hindu New Year. Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir proudly notes and supports his focus and efforts to unite the country’s varied communities and also promote harmony throughout the different faiths of the Country.”
Tarun Patel, Neasden Temple, said, “It was a pleasure to welcome the Mayor of London to our Hindu New Year celebrations at the Neasden Temple. On this auspicious occasion, we wish the Mayor every success in serving London.”