Kingsbury Temple opened its doors to host a festival in honour of the Armed Forces Hindu Network.
Guests at the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury in Kingsbury Road, enjoyed a Raksha Bandhan festival last Friday co-hosted by Brent North MP Barry Gardiner.
It was attended by the Rt Hon Earl Howe, MOD Minister of State in the House of Lords and senior military personnel.
Raksha Bandhan is a major Hindu festival, symbolising bonds of mutual protection within families and within communities.
Around twenty Hindu and non-Hindu Armed forces personnel from The Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force had decorative string bracelets known as Rakhi, tied on to their wrists by young members of the Hindu community, symbolising the bond between the protectors and those being protected.
Air Trooper Vivek Sangani, 23, who spoke about joining The Army at the event, said: “It’s important to build bridges between the community and the Armed Forces. Events like this show The Army and the Armed Forces do care about the community, take pride in and will celebrate the service personnel and their cultural differences.”
Hindus have long made a significant contribution to the Defence of the UK and there are currently around 2,500 Hindus serving in the Armed Forces.
Mandir Trustee, Dr Mahesh Varsani said: “Our Armed Forces are at the vanguard of protecting us and we should never take them for granted. Our global spiritual leader, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj often visits military installations in India to remind us of the selfless and valiant job that these courageous servicemen and women do. It is for that reason that we are hugely honoured to host the Armed Forces Hindu Network’s flagship Raksha Bandhan event here today.”
The event included dance performances from children attending the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Academy of Performing Arts and Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band performed.
Members of The Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force had decorative string bracelets known as Rakhi, tied on to their wrists by young members of the Hindu community