Celebration for Hindus

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MORE than 100 Hindus gathered to celebrate a popular festival recently.

They commemorated the birth of Lord Hanuman Ji, the monkey god, as he is described by some.

He is the symbol of strength and energy.

Ramesh Srivastava is a member of the Kimberley Road temple.

He said: “Hanuman is worshipped for his unyielding devotion to Rama and is remembered for his selfless dedication to God.

“Hanuman is considered the living embodiment of the Karma Yogi - one whose meditation and devotion are demonstrated through hard work or service.

“Hanuman said ‘I am a humble messenger of Sri Rama. I have come here to serve Rama, to do His work...I am fearless by the Grace of Lord Rama. I am not afraid of death. I will welcome it if it comes while serving Lord Rama.’

“In return for his unconditional love, Lord Rama granted him everlasting life.

“He promised that Hanuman would be worshipped alongside Rama and that his idol would be placed next to his.

Ramesh added: “This is a very popular festival which can be celebrated at home or in the temple.

“On April 6, the sacred text Hanuman Chalisa, a set of prayers glorifying Hanuman and describing his past times, is recited.”

Depending on the devotee, the text is either recited non-stop for 24 hours or chanted a set number of times.

Special Pujas are performed and offerings are made to Lord Hanuman.

Some people have different rituals, such as sacred fire ceremonies.

In India particularly, colourful processions fill the streets. People dance, carry idols of Lord Hanuman and some people wear masks and tails to imitate the monkey god.

Every celebration is accompanied by a period of fasting and then a big vegetarian feast.

The present temple premises, 4 Kimberley Road, was bought by four devotees who pooled their own money in 1974.

The devotees nominated trustees and the opening ceremony took place the following year. Since then all Hindu festivals are celebrated there and it is open to everyone.

In 1995, 6 Kimblerley Road was an empty garage which the Temple bought.

The extended temple is now used for many activities such as Hindi classes for children, Yoga classes and daily worships from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Dozens of schools visit the temple every year and anyone is welcome.