Diwali fest lights up Trafalgar Square

The historic Trafalgar Square came alive with the sights and sounds of India on Sunday as thousands of people gathered to witness the annual Diwali spectacle.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2007 12:14 IST

The historic Trafalgar Square in came alive with the sights and sounds of India on Sunday as thousands of people gathered to witnessed the annual Diwali spectacle organised by the Mayor of London.

For most of the time during the celebrations, the enthusiastic audience - both British Asians and hundreds of tourists - braved rain to enjoy Indian food and music. The event was a celebration of an Indian festival with Indian themes, but had a hybrid feel to it as east met west and Bollywood dances mixed with American hip-hop.

Prominent among the songs that people danced to were from films such as "Chak De India", "Dhoom" and "Bunty Aur Babli". A Latin American woman evoked much applause as she danced to the popular number, "Kajra re..".

Organisers put up 'diyas' (earthen lamps) and lanterns in the fountains in the square while some participating groups distributed red boxes of Indian sweets. The event, that included Indian dances such as garba and bharatnatyam, ran from midday Sunday until 8 pm.

The participating groups included Academy of Punjabi Heritage, Angel Dance School; Apsara Dancers; B4U; BAPS Swaminarayan School; Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University; Explosive Dhol 'n Dance, Manchester; Francis Cardoso and Co; Ishira; ISKCON; Oshwal Association of UK; Sai School of Harrow; Sapnay School of Dance; Karma from Imperial College; Dinesh Pandit; Shama Group; Shree Kutch Patel Leva Community; Shri Academy of Dance; Sujata Banerjee Kathak School; Sunrise Radio.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "Diwali is an important occasion for London's Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, and represents the power of good to triumph over evil a theme that has relevance for all of London's communities, because it signifies the value of co-operation and mutual respect between peoples of differing faiths and backgrounds. On this joyous occasion, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous Diwali."

Trafalgar Square, in the heart of London, is one of the city's most vibrant open spaces dotted with statues and fountains. Home to the towering Nelson's Column that commemorates British victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the square is rich in history and provides a platform for artistic performances and events.

First Published: Oct 29, 2007 10:03 IST