Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Ealing to celebrate this year's spectacular Hindu chariot festival.
Mass crowds watched the colourful display as the procession for the Hindu Rath Yatra or "chariot festival" passed through West Ealing on Sunday (August 13).
The parade began outside the Shri Kanaga Thurkkai Amman Temple, which organised the event, in Chapel Road, and continued through much of the day, under beaming sunshine.
Decorated chariots were pulled by members of the community, with music playing, dancing, and Hindu "pilgrims" donning beautiful brightly coloured outfits.
The festival, in Hindu history, is said to mark the return of Lord Krishna to Vrindavan, with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra.
Every year, it attracts huge crowds of Hindu pilgrims, and spectators alike, who join the procession.
The concept is to consider the “body to be the chariot” and “the soul of the deity to be instilled inside it” and it is believed that people who attend the festival can find their way towards heaven after death.
Devotees believe that if they get the honour of pulling the ropes of the giant chariot, carrying Krishna then at the end of this life, they will be granted a place in the spiritual world.
During the festival some men lie on the street and roll behind the main chariot as a mark of respect.
Liz McGowan, who snapped pictures of the parade from the view of her window, said: "I have been a local resident for over three years and work opposite in Harper Woods Estate Agents and the festival has grown over the last few years, now requiring barriers to be placed along the Uxbridge Road to hold in the crowds.
"It is a disruption to the residents in the road of course as Chapel Road very small and is literally full to standing capacity and the festival begins at 8am with beating drums and chanting, but it is exciting to watch from afar.
"A very colourful and joyous festival and good fun to be part of."
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