Saturday, 10 March 2012


Fourth stage on the Holi Yatra Sponsored Walk with Leicester Friends of Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies: Shree Geeta Bhavan Temple & Hindu Community Centre, Clarendon Park Road. The goal is to visit 15 Hindu places of worship in Leicester on foot today. Four 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.)

Those placards borne aloft in the photo above announce that we're on a Holi Yatra sponsored walk (as seen on the placard to the left) and "Think Hindu Studies Think OCHS" (on the right). I carry one of them for a while. I never get one of those nifty little yellow rucksacks with the logo for today's event though.

On the road from the Jain Centre on Oxford Street (the previous stage on the walk) I chat with Kamlesh Purohit, who hosts a Sunday evening show on BBC Radio Leicester. I've been on his show a couple of times recently, before and after the recent visit to Leicester by the English Defence League. He asks me to record a soundbite on the move for his next show, which will include a report of today's event.

Shree Geeta Bhavan is the headquarters of the Hindu Religious and Cultural Society Leicester.

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. As we set off from Shree Geeta Bhavan I nip across the road to Christchurch and leave some of the same material there. This leads to me falling behind the group, but as long as I catch up before they reach the junction of Clarendon Park Road and London Road, so at least I can see whether they go left or right ...

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