Saturday, 10 March 2012


Third stage on the Holi Yatra Sponsored Walk with Leicester Friends of Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies: The Jain Centre, Oxford StreetThe goal is to visit 15 Hindu places of worship in Leicester on foot today. Three down ...

Holi (Hindi: होली) is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus, also known as the Festival of Colours. It is primarily observed in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal and in countries with large populations from India or of Indian descent who follow Hinduism.

Yatra (Sanskrit: यात्रा, "journey", "procession"), in Hinduism and other Indian religions, means pilgrimage to holy places and is generally undertaken in groups. One who goes on a yatra is known as a yatri. It is desirable, but not obligatory, for a Hindu to go on a yatra. One can go on a yatra for a variety of reasons, including festivals, to perform rituals for one's ancestors, or to obtain good karma. To traditional Hindus, the journey itself is as important as the destination, and the hardships of travel serve as an act of devotion in themselves. Visiting a sacred place is believed by the pilgrim to purify the self and bring one closer to the divine. (Thanks to Wikipedia for these definitions.)

While Jainism is identified as a distinct religion in its own right in terms of membership of the Council of Faiths, no one involved today seems particularly fussed that it should be included in a route taking in all the Hindu places of worship in Leicester.

One of the distinctive features of Leicester's Jain Centre is that it accommodates many different sects of the religion under one roof, giving each its own space for worship, while the followers can mingle together socially. As well as the main area for worship (seen in photo above), several smaller rooms present variations on Jain belief and practice for the benefit of those who worship differently (as shown in the photo below, taken on a Peace Visit organised by Leicester Council of Faiths in September 2009).

I leave some flyers and A4 posters for the upcoming REDP event Choice Unlimited (after asking permission, of course). I also leave information about the Council of Faiths next open meeting, a panel presentation entitled "God in my faith" coming up during the week.

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