Thousands enjoyed the annual Sikh festival of Vaisakhi through Gravesend Town Centre on Saturday April 18. The Naggar Kirtan (Procession) attracted not only members of the Sikh community but also members of the other diverse communities in North West Kent.
Gurvinder Sandher the Director of Kent Equality Cohesion Council said “It was fantastic to see the diverse communities of Gravesham coming together to celebrate Vaisakhi. It underlined for me the positive community relations that we enjoy and how events like this bring the communities together. I am really pleased for the Guru Nanak Darbar Management Committee who put so much time and effort into pulling this event together along with our partners from Gravesham Borough Council and Kent Police. I hope that we will get just as positive response to the Royal Wedding celebrations and parade that we have organised in Gravesham on April 28.”
The Naggar Kirtan was led by the Panj Piary (5 Beloved) who were dressed in saffron coloured robes and turbans. They were followed by the Sikh’s holy book the Guru Granth Sahib in a special model of the Golden Temple. The Naggar Kirtan started at the new Sikh Temple which is one of the biggest outside of India where special prayers were said and members of the public heard speeches from the Mayor of Gravesham Cllr. Bill Lambert, the Chief Constable of Kent Ian Learmonth and representatives from the Gurdwara Management Committee.
The procession then went through the town centre, with the colourful spectacle being enjoyed by those in the town. In addition to the religious floats, there were numerous community projects involved in the Naggar Kirtan including the Gatka Jatha, Four by Four Bhangra Youth Club, Jugnu Bhangra Group, Guru Nanak Day Centre, Kent Police, Rotary Club and the Kent Fire & Rescue Service. Following a stop in Arthur Street at the Guru Ravi Dass Gurdwara the procession climaxed where it started back at the new Gurdwara complex off Trinity Road. Throughout the route there were special donations made of food and drink by members of the local community.