Saturday, September 15, 2007

A noteworthy festivity

This afternoon we took baby Jasmine to Penarth, to enjoy the sunshine, and a walk on the pier for an hour. On the journey home we ran into road closures due to the end of the rugby international at the Millennium Stadium, requiring a diversion of our route home via Grangetown.

For the first time I caught a glimpse from Clare Road of the newly erected domes of the Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in Merches Gardens, so we drove around to take a look.

The street was a hive a activity, as young men festooned the street in front of the building with coloured bunting, suspended from the facade of the building to create a festal canopy. It all looked so magnificent in the early evening light, and so I heaved myself out of the car, camera at the ready and took several shots of the building and the activity around it.

I was greeted by Sanjay, a young man responsible for public relations, and he was keen to tell me all about the week of celebrations about to start, with the arrival of the head Swami of the Swaminarayan 'sect' (as they call it themselves) from India, to preside over celebrations which will include worship, social activities, and a big public procession through the streets from City Hall to Merches Gardens next Saturday.

There has been a Hindu community with its own place of worship in Cardiff now for thirty years, and this is the silver jubilee of its formal existence. They are well established and contribute significantly, as do Muslim and Christian Indians, to the life of the city. Would that this were better recognised. I hope they get a good representation of guests to appreciate their welcome. They deserve it. There are several thousand Hindus in South Wales, of all ages, for whom this next week will be an important one. I'm so glad for them that the weather is set to be something of an Indian Summer.

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