Thousands in Swindon have come together to celebrate community and inclusivity during the festival of Vaisakhi.

Vaisakhi holds immense cultural and historical significance for the Sikh community, marking the creation of the Khalsa Panth by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699.

It is considered to be a time of reflection, gratitude, and community spirit.

Across the weekend of Saturday, April 13, Swindon’s Sikh community marked the annual event with a host of activities at the Shri Guru Nanak Gurdwara on Kembrey Street.

This included the annual change of the Nishan Sahib, the holy flag that marks all Gurdwaras, and other important ceremonies.

As well as hosting Swindon’s Sikh community, the Gurdwara is also open to other residents, and officers from Wiltshire Police visited to join the celebrations.

Swindon Advertiser: The changing of the Nishan SahibThe changing of the Nishan Sahib (Image: Charanjit Sunner)

It is estimated that close to 2,000 people joined in the festivities across Saturday and Sunday, with volunteers working both before and during the weekend to organise the event and keep people fed.

The Shri Guru Nanak Gurdwara Trustees and Committee, made up of unpaid volunteers, oversaw these preparations and told the Adver the weekend was a huge success that brought people from across Swindon together.

They said: “There are a few occasions a year we get together, but this is the biggest and it’s a really good time for the community to get together, kids and adults.

“It’s been a really, really good weekend, we’re very inclusive and this establishment is open to anyone who wants to come here.”

On Sunday, internationally recognised charity Khalsa Aid set up a stall at the Gurdwara in order to engage with the community.

The humanitarian organisation has been running for 25 years and has chapters in countries around the world.

Swindon Advertiser: People celebrate Vaisakhi at Shri Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Swindon

One of their UK projects is Langar Aid, which sees them provide food support to those in need through soup kitchens and food parcels on a referral basis.

Representative Bill Mato said the event was a good way to bring people together and help those in need.

He added: “We’ve got a stall to show what we do around the world and in the UK, we can engage with the local community here and see if there is any food support needed in Swindon.

“This weekend is great to engage with people and talk to them in person, the Swindon Sikh community has brought everyone together here.

“There are people from all different backgrounds and walks of life, they can all access here, get something to eat, and speak to people if they need to.”