Streets of Leeds are a blaze of colour as Sikh community stages annual Vaisakhi celebration

They came in their hundreds for one of the most spectacular – and colourful – occasions in the Leeds calendar.

An estimated 2,500 people flocked to a sun-kissed Millennium Square today as the city's Sikh community celebrated the annual festival of Vaisakhi.

Many of those present had walked to the city centre as part of a parade that set out from the Sikh Temple on Chapeltown Road this morning.

It wound its way along Harehills Lane and Sheepscar Street South before travelling along Eastgate, The Headrow and Cookridge Street en route to Millennium Square.

At the head of the procession was a truck bearing a 20-inch-diameter 'battle drum' called a nagara which was played throughout the course of the journey...

...People soaking up the atmosphere in Millennium Square this afternoon included Puneet Tayal, from Roundhay, who was with his wife Sanehlata and children Parth, 11, and Rushika, four.

He said: "It is good to know the whole city is embracing this. You have a lot of non-Indian people here and they will see inclusivity and a vibrant culture."

Other attendees included Mangal Singh, from Gipton, who was with his children Yuvraj, nine, and Parneet, five.

He said: "It is an important day for telling other communities who you are and it is something we look forward to every year. Everyone is welcome."

The crowds in Millennium Square were treated to performances of traditional music as well as a display of a martial art named gatka.

They also heard from the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Graham Latty, who paid tribute to the role played by the Sikh community in city life.


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