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Thames Landscape Strategy - Hampton to Kew -

The Spiritual River

The spiritual connection between humans and rivers stretches back millennia. In almost all world cultures water plays some part in the way that people traditionally understand and celebrate their lives. This cultural and spiritual association between river and community was vividly brought alive along our stretch of the Thames last Monday evening in a fantastic celebration called ‘Ganesha Chaturthi’ that took place at the end of River Lane in Petersham.

The festival was organised by the Hounslow Hindu Temple to mark the birth of Lord Ganesha – one of the most revered Gods of Hindus. Ganesha is worshipped at the beginning of every grand occasion as the God of knowledge, the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles, besides being worshipped as the God of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.
Our riverside event was the culmination of a week long celebration which saw a statue of Lord Ganesha carried in grand procession down the quiet and normally dark lane to be immersed in the River Thames. The procession was accompanied by dancers who danced to the beats of devotional songs and drums as the immersion took place.
It really was a magical sight – the multi-coloured candles, noise and bustle of the festival attracting quite a crowd of on-lookers. Our role was to make certain that everything went off smoothly – which it did.
River Lane in Petersham will also be at the centre of another great event in river life on Saturday September 5th – the Great River Race. 300 boats from across the globe will race from Greenwich to Richmond to find the UK traditional boat champions. Boats are expected to arrive at Richmond around 1.45 and should take a couple of hours to pass through to the finish at Ham. Bands will play along Richmond Riverside and Buccleugh Gardens will be turned into a little seaside resort for the day complete with Punch and Judy, sandcastles and donkey rides – a great place to bring the family and enjoy the race. Elsewhere along the river, on-lookers are being encouraged to pack a picnic and settle down on the riverbank for the afternoon as the boats go past.

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