Hindu celebration on the riverside

Ganesh Festival, Sheffield

Ganesh Festival, Sheffield

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MEMBERS of Sheffield’s Hindu community were able to celebrate their annual Ganesh Festival at the riverside in the city for the first time thanks to a scheme to encourage access to the waterside in the east end.

They gathered next the River Don, near Attercliffe, with the support of Sheffield Faiths Forum, police and river stewards on the Blue Loop Project, which aims to increase access to the area around the Don and Tinsley Canal.

Dr Vithal Patel, chair of the Hindu Samaj in Burngreave, said: “On the 10th day of this festival, we submerge our statue of Ganesh in the river.

“In previous years we haven’t been able to organise access to the river in Sheffield so have always taken our statue to Leeds instead.”

It followed a street procession from the community’s centre in Buckenham Street towards Attercliffe and the Five Weirs Walk.

Hellen Hornby, of the river stewards, said: “Helping the Hindu community in a safe and environmentally-friendly way helped us to promote the Blue Loop and helped them to celebrate their festival.”

Jennie Beard, of Sheffield Faiths Forum, said it had been a celebration “in Sheffield’s beautiful natural landscape. There was lots of singing and dancing and we hope the procession and use of the river will now become part of the Hindu community’s annual Ganesh Festival.”