UKHCA Saraswati Puja 2024

2024 UKHCA Saraswati Puja
The UK Hindu Cultural Association (UKHCA) celebrated the Saraswati Puja on Sunday 18th February in the Swanley Townhall, Swanley with fervour and in the most propitious manner to mark the arrival of spring by worshipping the goddess of knowledge, language, music, and all arts. The graceful celebration was an attempt to preserve Indian culture, to impart a sense of respect towards long established traditions while allowing the devotees across the community to offer their worship to the goddess.

The event successfully recreated the charm of Saraswati Puja celebration of Bengal by following the yellow dress code, allowing the children to participate actively by offering their books and musical instruments to the deity, and by decorating the venue with beautiful yellow marigolds. The puja started early in the morning and all the rituals were performed by the priest with solemnity and devotion. The “Devi Bandana” and “Aarti” were spectacular.

The major attraction of the event remained the “Hate Khori”, where many toddlers sought the blessing of the goddess and started their academic journey by writing their first letter in front of the deity.

The innovative attempt to prepare the delicious “khichuri bhog” by the volunteers of UKHCA made the devotees delighted.

The beautifully organized post lunch events drew the attention of the devotees and didn’t allow them to leave the venue early. Following the tradition of the UKHCA, the children took the lead to conduct and judge the art competition and the first ever fashion show. While the glamorous presentation and charismatic anchoring remained the showstopper, the ravishing catwalk done by the children truly deserved huge applause. At the end the beautiful rendition from children transcended the ambience. The coalescence of gaiety and piety left an indelible impression in the mind of the attendees of the event.

UKHCA sincerely conveys its gratitude to all the volunteers, patrons and participants for their unconditional support and cooperation to make this event successful.

UKHCA Xmas Party 2023

Xmas Party 2023
UKHCA hosted our annual Christmas celebration at Indian Essence on Sunday 3rd December 2023, and it was a delightful event. Attendees raved about the delectable food and the enchanting ambience that permeated the event with love and festive spirit.

A heartfelt thank you goes to @Ashis Sau for orchestrating a delightful afternoon for our UKHCA family.

Looking forward to an even grander celebration next year! 🎄🎉

UKHCA Kali Puja 2023

The UK Hindu Cultural Association (UKHCA) celebrated the Kali puja and Diwali on 12th November at the Swanley Townhall, Swanley with ardour and piousness. By following its tradition, the celebration not only fulfilled the religious customs, but it also brought the entire community together to spread and enjoy the true spirit of the festival by sharing love, respect, and togetherness.

The puja rituals were performed by the priests with austerity and complete devotion by offering everyone an equal opportunity to worship the Goddess Kali. The magnificently decorated rangoli and flowers helped the event to retain its spiritual essence throughout the evening. The event witnessed the spectacular lighting of 108 diyas (earthen lights) by the devotees to illuminate “UKHCA” to symbolize the “victory of light over darkness”. The puja prasad was distributed in a most organized manner among the devotees. The delicious mutton dishes served in the dinner at the end gave it a perfect finish.

In this year UKHCA also offered an opportunity to the local businesses to put up their stalls in the event.

The active participation, enthusiasm and the team spirit of the volunteers made the event impeccable.

On behalf of UKHCA, we would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to all the patrons, volunteers, and the participants to make this event a great success and will look forward to having your continuous support and cooperation in our upcoming events as well.

UKHCA Durga Puja 2023

The UK Hindu Cultural Association (UKHCA) successfully celebrated its 11th Durga Puja from 21st to 24th October at the Swanley Townhall, Swanley with ardour and piousness to welcome goddess Durga and her retinue. In its own right, this puja has become as fine an illustration of the greatest festival of Bengalis as seen anywhere in Bengal. While adhering to the tradition of puja with sincerity, the celebration offered a wonderful opportunity to the entire Bengali and Indian community to reunite and rejuvenate for four days. It was visited by more than 1500 devotees this year. The event witnessed the gracious presence of the coordination minister Mr. Deepak Choudhary of Indian High Commission.

The ceremonial unveiling of the Durga idol took place on Sasthi, marking the beginning of the puja.  A series of rituals are performed on the first day, including kalprarambha (কালপ্ররম্ভা), the beginning of the Pujo, bodhon (বোধোন), the reveal of Devi Durga’s face, amontron (আমন্ত্রণ), the ritual invitation to Maa Durga, and odhibash (অধিবাস), which sanctifies the goddess’ presence in the mandap followed by Saptami puja. On 22nd October, the Maha Ashtami was celebrated through various puja rituals, aarti and offering Pushpanjali to the goddess to seek her blessings. The evening became spectacular with the lighting of 108 earthen lamps and offering 108 lotuses to worship the divine feminine. On Navami the devotees performed the traditional “Dhunuchi dance” with the beats of ‘Dhak’. On Vijaya Dashami, the glorious culmination of Durga Puja, resonated with a symphony of devotion when the goddess was taken for ‘Bisarjan’, symbolizing the transcendental journey back to her divine abode. Married women, dressed in pristine white sarees with red borders, indulged in playfully smearing sindoor on each other’s faces and the idols of the goddess. The sight of hundreds of women, their faces adorned with bright red sindoor, created a captivating contrast against their white sarees.

The puja rituals were performed by the priest with austerity and complete devotion by offering all the devotees an equal opportunity to worship the goddess throughout all the four days. The mantras were explained and translated perfectly by the priest many times to make it easily understandable to the audience. The recitation of “Chandi path” by the priest created a saintly ambience to facilitate the devotees to connect with the eternal power effortlessly. At the end of the puja, the delicious prasad was distributed everyday followed by lunch and dinner.

The organizers also offered an opportunity to the local businesses to put up their stalls and advertise their ventures in the UKHCA brochure. The magnificent traditional saree & jewellery stalls and the delectable food stalls remained a major attraction of the event.

The Sharodotsav finally concluded with the cultural event “Bijoya Sammilani”, held at the main hall of the Townley Grammar School, Bexleyheath on 29th October with much fervour. The glorious dance performances and drama presented by the members of the UKHCA and the resplendent dinner made the evening indelible.

The active participation, enthusiasm and the team spirit of the volunteers made this year’s Durga Puja impeccable.

On behalf of UKHCA, we would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to all the patrons, volunteers, and the participants to make this event a great success and will look forward to having your continuous support and cooperation in our upcoming events as well.

2023 UKHCA Annual Brochure

We published our annual brochure on the auspicious Mahalaya Day (Saturday 14th October)

Please support our 2023 Annual Brochure sponsors

UKHCA Durga Puja has been featured in the October 2023 edition of Kolkata's Aajkal Safar magazine

Details on page 2

UKHCA AGM Sunday 23rd April 2023

The UKHCA held its 30th Annual General Meeting on Sunday 23rd April 2023. Members, old and new, joined in to celebrate our achievements over 2022 – 2023 together.

The event began with the usual cacophony and coming together of our members, rejoicing and reminiscing the good times we all have had together over last year. Dressed up in beautiful sarees and other traditional Indian wear, our members captured the beautiful moments together with a photo-op!

This was followed by a scrumptious Indian lunch, sponsored kindly by UKHCA and provided by Partypals (Malobika Roy)

The meeting formally began with a welcome speech by our President, Mrs Krishna Baruah.

Krishna di thanked the outgoing President Dr Tapon Halder and welcomed new Executive Committee members (Pieu Chaudhuri, Sumona Chatterjee, Rakhee Dutta Gupta) and all new members to the UKHCA family. Krishna di also thanked everyone for their contribution over the year.

Debanjan Mukherjee, our General Secretary, presented on Objectives that the UKHCA had set out over the last year, namely Build an environment of camaraderie, Instil transparency, objectivity, governance and accountability, Streamline the present. and Set up for the future

Debanjan spoke about achievements against these objectives. Successful Puja festivities; decentralised, democratic decision making; Community participation; streamlining of processes were key highlights of the discussion. Debanjan also announced that we now have 25 Executive committee members, with the recent joining of 3 new EC members, as well as 12 new members who have recently joined the UKHCA family.

Priorities were set out for 2023, with further streamlining activities planned around Puja schedule, food provision, memberships and accountability. Debanjan thanked members of the community who had supported various initiatives and offered their help as volunteers in various aspects of the UKHCA operations.

Tanuj Banerjee and Jharna Sil Verma presented the annual accounts highlighting the success of the Durga Puja collection from Brochure and Gate collection activities. Tanuj thanked Rama Satoskar and Tim Das for their leadership and effort in these areas. Streamlining gift aid was a key highlight and helped with the tremendous effort put in by Tim Das on the website improvements. Tanuj encouraged existing members to spread the word and invite other members of the community to join the UKHCA family. Tanuj made a key point to note about rising costs and income depreciation – something to be coherent of whilst organising festivities.

Dr Sanjay Basu and Dr Ashis Sau presented proposed dates for Durga Puja and other festivals through 2023 and early 2024. Plans were discussed briefly about Christmas party and Holi party after their resounding success over the last year.

Jharna Sil Verma presented proposed Working group lead names for 2023/24 across Brochure, Catering & Food distribution, Cultural, Decoration, Digital communication, Front desk, Fruit cutting, Transportation, Puja and Stall Teams. Jharna encouraged more volunteers to come forward and support the working groups.

The meeting concluded with a discussion on other matters, including EC memberships, Bijoya Sammilani, social activities, etc.

The afternoon was made even more engaging with Jharna organising a mind-boggling Quiz (that kept us scratching our heads for answers) and everyone was excited and well entertained in the Tambola – the last highlight of the day!

We all had a good time at this year’s AGM, not only was this to discuss our ethos, ideas and objectives, it was also an opportunity to celebrate our achievements and look forward to getting together soon again!

If you are not member and wish to enrol into UKHCA membership, please click here to Join UKHCA

UKHCA Holi Party Saturday 4th March 2023

Holi, the festival of colour was celebrated by the UKHCA on 4th March at the Amar Hall, Dartford with lots of avidity. The well-organized event was a true symbolic representation of welcoming the spring by spreading love, peace, and happiness in a most colourful way. All the participants buried their hatchets with a warm embrace and threw their worries to the wind to make the event memorable.  The hall was beautifully decorated with the “HOLI” theme. Every nook and corner presented a colourful sight.

The delectable “Thandai” gave a warm welcome to the guests and inaugurated the event of unadulterated fun and enjoyment. The “Holi” songs built up the ambience and brought everyone on the dance floor. As people started to unfold themselves by mingling up with each other the resplendent veg and non-veg starters along with the main course Indian delicacies allured everyone. The Chicken 65, Chili paneer, Tandoori chicken, Gobi 65 and Veg Manchurian ignited the mood of celebration while the mouth-watering biryani captivated the audience.

The Gulab Jamun competition revived the memory of traditional Bengali food events. But admittedly the “Musical Chair” created real excitement. There were three rounds of it, dedicated for the children, women, and men separately and there was no divergence of elation among the groups.

The event reached the climax, when everyone indulged in the spirit of celebration of colour with social merriment. People put colour on each other by maintaining their dignities in a most organized way.

The graceful celebration remained a wonderful attempt from the UKHCA to give an opportunity to its participants to declutter their minds and to rejuvenate themselves by sprinkling the colour of happiness in their lives.

UKHCA sincerely conveys its gratitude to all its volunteers, patrons and participants for their wholehearted support and cooperation to make this event successful.

UKHCA Saraswati Puja Sunday 29 January 2023

II ওম সরস্বতী মহাভাগে বিদ্যে কমলোলোচনে।
বিদ্যারূপে বিশালাক্ষ্মী বিদ্যাং দেবী নমোস্তুতে II
🪔🪔🪔🙏🙏🙏
The UK Hindu Cultural Association (UKHCA) celebrated the Saraswati Puja on 29th January 2023 in the Olympic Hall, Swanley with fervour and in the most propitious manner to mark the arrival of spring by worshipping the goddess of knowledge, language, music, and all arts. The graceful celebration was an attempt to preserve Indian culture, to impart a sense of respect towards long established traditions while allowing everyone across the community to offer their worship to the goddess.

The event successfully recreated the charm of Saraswati Puja celebration of Bengal by following the yellow dress code, allowing the children to participate actively by offering their books to the deity, and by decorating the venue with beautiful yellow marigolds. The puja started early in the morning and all the rituals were performed by the priest with solemnity and devotion. The “Devi Vandana” and “Aarti” were spectacular.

The major attraction of the event remained the “Hate Khori”, where many toddlers sought the blessing of the goddess and started their academic journey by writing their first letter in front of the deity.

The delicious bhog made the devotees delighted. The authentic and conventional Bengali food stalls added a special flavour to the event, particularly the traditional Bengali sweet stall allured the visitors. At the end a beautiful rendition from the children transcended the ambience. All the performances were hugely acclaimed by the audience. The Saraswati Vandana and the recital of Tagore’s poem” “Where the mind is without fear” left the spectators speechless. The coalescence of gaiety and piety left an indelible impression in the mind of the attendees of the event.

UKHCA sincerely conveys its gratitude to all the volunteers, patrons and participants for their unconditional support and cooperation to make this event successful.

UKHCA Christmas Party Sunday 11th December 2022

The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of God’s ultimate gift: the birth of Jesus! The spirit of Christmas brings a joyous time of celebration and showing our love for each other and to rejoice together!

Father Christmas came early to UKHCA on 11th December 2022. We held our annual Christmas celebration event this year at Basecamp, a quirky restaurant serving authentic Indian and South Asian cuisine.
Donned in Christmas jumpers and Santa hats, we jazzed, sparkled and shimmered, we celebrated the ushering of the festive season in style!! With a sumptuous 3 course menu accompanied by drinks, it was a party to remember! The event started early afternoon, with families from our community arriving in style, excited and looking forward to a wonderful afternoon with all other extended UKHCA family members.

This was a perfect way to let our hair down and relax, a time to say thank our volunteers and community members! Some short speeches were made in appreciation for our outgoing President Dr Tapon Halder and a warm welcome was extended to our new President Mrs Krishna Baruah. We received presents from children of Jharna Sil Verma in celebration of Christmas and started the afternoon with welcome drinks! We were all in a wild party spirit, dancing to Christmas tunes and singing along merrily together! Mingling dancing and chatting with photoshoots, we moved into an Indian themed meal, enjoyed by young and old alike. Our youngest party-goer was all of 2, and was seen to be really enjoying himself, cradled in his family’s arms!

All in all, time well spent with friends and family, an unforgettable experience indeed! We are already looking forward to next year’s celebrations!!

Please stay tuned to our social media platforms and website for all the news on our upcoming events. https://ukhca.community/

UKHCA Kali Puja and Diwali celebrations Sunday 23rd October 2022

UK Hindu Cultural Association (UKHCA) celebrated Kali puja and Diwali on Sunday 23rd October 2022 at the Swanley Town Hall with ardour and piousness. The celebration brought the entire community together to spread and enjoy the true spirit of the festival by sharing love, respect, and togetherness. 

The puja rituals were performed with austerity and complete devotion by offering everyone an equal opportunity to worship Goddess Kali. The magnificent decoration made of diyas, rangoli and flowers helped the event to retain its spiritual essence throughout the evening. It also witnessed the spectacular fireworks conducted by the children under their parental supervision to symbolize the “victory of light over darkness”. The puja prasad was distributed in a most organized manner among the devotees. The delicious dinner served at the end gave it a perfect finish.
The active participation, enthusiasm and the team spirit of the volunteers made the event impeccable.

On behalf of UKHCA, we would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to all the patrons, volunteers, and the participants to make this event a great success and will look forward to having your continuous support and cooperation in our upcoming events as well.

10th Sharodiya Durga Puja
UKHCA proudly celebrated its 10th Sharodiya Durga Puja at Swanley Town Hall between 1st and 5th October 2022.
At the UK Hindu Cultural Association (UKHCA), we celebrated our 10th Sharodiya Durga Puja this year. At the puja this year, we have seen a confluence of old and new, modern and traditional and we are proud to have brought our Bengali and Indian community together, whilst also supporting local businesses.
 
Over the last few days, we have seen wonderful camaraderie amongst friends, old and new, everyone joining hands to celebrate Ma Durga’s visit to our mortal earth. Our puja rituals were performed by our priests with devotion, joy and pride, all at the same time. They not only led the puja with enthusiasm and fervour, but also brought our community to celebrate our wonderful puja together. Our volunteer community were actively involved in all aspects of the puja, making it a resounding success! Every day, we served our delicious Puja ‘prasad’ and ‘bhog’ twice a day, making the joy of the Puja even more fulfilling. Our local advertisers and businesses put up their stalls and banners, offering delectable food and gorgeous lifestyle items for sale, bringing a mini-shopping bonanza to the local community. On Shashti and Saptami, we saw lovely performances from our community members and on Bijoya Dashami, our celebrations culminated with a magnificent performance from Sayani Palit followed by our Bijoya Sammilani dinner.
 
Our heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our dear volunteers, patrons, donors and advertisers. Thank you for your support, your presence, your participation and your generous donations. We are overwhelmed with your love.
 

You can see some glimpses of our puja here: https://ukhca.community/2022-durga-puja/

We are hoping to see you again at our Kali Puja celebrations on Sunday 23rd October 2022 between 5PM and 8PM at Swanley Town Hall.