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Sikhs on parade for Vaisakhi

PUBLISHED: 15:44 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010

SIKHS celebrating Vaisaikhi this weekend will also mark the opening of a £14million Gurdwara. Gravesend town centre is set to be flooded with colour as Sikhs from across north Kent and south-east England descend on the town this Saturday for the huge ann

SIKHS celebrating Vaisaikhi this weekend will also mark the opening of a £14million Gurdwara.

Gravesend town centre is set to be flooded with colour as Sikhs from across north Kent and south-east England descend on the town this Saturday for the huge annual celebration.

A procession will begin at the huge new temple in Khalsa Avenue at 11.30am and wind towards the Civic Centre on Windmill Street and up to the old Gurdwara on Clarence Place and before returning to the start.

Swaran Singh has overseen much of the development of the temple, when construction began in 2002.

He said: "It is exciting to be so near to the end. Most of the materials and workforce has come over from India and it has been funded largely from donations from the Gravesend community."

As the largest Sikh temple in Europe, bumper crowds are expected to attend the opening. The project has been funded completely by the community and includes two smaller worship halls alongside the main chamber, a fully fitted kitchen and an education centre.

Mr Singh added: "I already have 50 weddings and events booked in. If people want to use it or visit I urge them to get in touch and have at least three dates available because it is high demand."

Vaisaikhi celebrates the new year, but also commemorate the moment in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh baptised five men who had volunteered to sacrifice their lives for their faith.

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