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Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Wednesday, 29 September 2010 13:31 UK
Cheltenham Hindus get ready for Navratri and Diwali

Indian woman celebrates Diwali
An Indian woman lights a clay lamp, as part of Diwali celebrations

Hindu communities across Gloucestershire are preparing to celebrate two of their biggest festivals.

Navratri - a celebration of worship and dance - and Diwali - popularly known as the Festival of Lights - both take place in October.

In Cheltenham, it is thought that more people than ever will get involved with festivities at the Hindu temple in Swindon Road.

Kannu Bhai Patel, secretary of the temple, said recent increases in visitors is to do with "migrant workers coming in to Cheltenham".

"At the moment we've got about 215 members," he said. "We have had a bit of an increase in people joining us.

"Also, there are a lot of people who are coming from India, who [are] doing IT or in the insurance business.

"People from other parts of India are coming and they also attend, so we have quite a big increase and they all come and join us.

"They don't have to be a member to come and worship at the Hindu temple and they can join in all the festivities and everything."

Mr Patel said that a "mixed age group" visits the temple, with non-Indians, visitors and students also using the services.

The Hindu temple opened in 1984 and, according to Mr Patel, the membership "has increased year after year".

The temple is open every day from 9.30am to 10.30am, and then 7.30pm until 9pm.

As well as prayer, the temple offers sessions in things like badminton and yoga, and events for pensioners.

You can get more information about the Hindu temple by calling 01242 584250.




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