Traditional South Indian dance at summer Mela

The Oxford Times: Dancers Kavitha Pillai, aged 15, right, and Sanjana Narayan, 14 Buy this photo Dancers Kavitha Pillai, aged 15, right, and Sanjana Narayan, 14

HINDUS celebrated their fifth summer Mela – or fair – with dancing, singing and traditional foods in Cowley.

Organised by the Oxford Hindu Temple and hosted by mental health charity Restore, in Manzil Way, Saturday’s event showed of the best of Asian culture.

Sanjana Narayan, 14, joined friend Kavitha Pillai, 15, to perform Bharatanatyam, a traditional South Indian dance.

Sanjana, who learning the dance eight years ago, said: “It is a classical style of dance that involves a lot of striking and facial expressions.

“The one we performed at the Mela was an offering to Lord Ganesha, one of the Hindu gods.

“I had a really good time and it was a very multicultural day. I liked the Elvis Presley impersonator they had, and the drummers.”

The Oxford Hindu Temple group has been fundraising and campaigning since 2009 for a place of worship in the city for the 5,000 Hindus it estimates live here.

Money raised by the Mela will go towards that project.

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