MORE than 600 people turned out for Swindon's biggest and most successful Hindu community event on Sunday.

The Swindon Hindu Temple Trust organised the auspicious Hindu religious event “Sri Srinivas Balaji Kalyanam” for the second consecutive year. The event hailed an outright success and the biggest religious congregation in the town with families from different communities gathering to witness and participate in the Divine Marriage of Lord Vishnu, one of the holy trinity in Hinduism.

The sheer scale of the six hour long event was evident in the grand cultural extravaganza with its colourful decorations and sumptuous Indian vegetarian food.

The live event was projected on to big screens starting with the traditional welcoming of guests.

"The emotional outpouring, warmth, excitement and devotion was palpable in particular during the Palanquin procession of the Lord when scores of people lined up to take turns, 20 at a time to carry the deities’ platform and also the traditional garland exchange wedding ritual ceremony accompanied by melodious music," said Pradeep Bhardwaj chairman of the Swindon Hindu Temple Trust.

" A drummer and scores of women in traditional attires walked in front of the procession carrying traditional lamps, singing devotional songs.

"And there were special activities for children bearing testimony to all the hard work put in by dozens of volunteers for well over three months planning this event."

Several Hindu rituals and ceremonies were performed amidst the chanting of Sanskrit shlokas by the official priests of Balaji Temple Birmingham, one of Europe’s biggest Hindu temples.

Mr Bhardwaj delivered a passionate speech to the congregation narrating the positive role of religion in our lives and compared it to that of an elite coach for any aspiring/budding sportsperson and how places of worship can make immense contributions to art, culture, cuisine, economy, social upliftment and harmony in our society.

He then announced the news the Hindu community has been waiting for the last 50 years – that Swindon’s first Hindu Temple & Cultural Centre is now imminent in the next few months. This was greeted with loud cheers, fanfare and rejoice by the big congregation. This should further strengthen the multicultural fabric of Swindon town. Around £10,000 was raised for building at the event.

Img 9061: Priests from Balaji Temple Birmingham performing the rituals

Img 8821: Traditional welcome for the Divine Marriage of Lord Vishnu (one of holy trinity in Hinduism)

Img 9407: Palanquin procession of Lord Balaji & his consorts

Img 9629: Trust Chairman Pradeep Bhardwaj felicitating MP (Swindon South) Robert Buckland & Councillor Garry Perkins

Img 9342: Classical dance artists performing at the auspicious celestial marriage of Lord Balaji