Thousands mark Hindu New Year celebrations across the Midlands

Thousands of Hindus across the Midlands are marking the New Year festivities tonight, following days of celebrations for Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

The Hindu New Year is the biggest festival in the calendar. Different communities celebrate the New Year on different dates, depending where they are from in India.

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in the Hall Green area of Birmingham, is hosting one of the region's biggest devotional celebrations.

Thousands of worshippers are praying and giving thanks for the blessings of the year that has passed, and asking for blessings for the New Year ahead.

The celebration includes lots of food laid out in the temple Credit: ITV News Central

It will be extra special for many, as it's the first time in fifty years that the celebrations have been held at this new mandir. Previous celebrations have been held at halls and other venues.

Festivities include the 'annakut', a mountain of food made up of hundreds of dishes prepared by devotees as a devotional offering in thanksgiving to God, to seek blessings.

This peacock, the national bird of India, has been made entirely from pasta Credit: ITV News Central

Harsa Patel, a volunteer at the mandir, says:

'Diwali and the Hindu New Year bring values of goodwill, charity and harmony across communities in the UK, and these very principles will be embodied during the celebrations at the mandir.

'This year's celebrations will also be a tribute to the mandir's creator, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, on the occasion of his centennial birth anniversary.

'Pramukh Swami Maharaj visited Birmingham on seven occasions and devoted his life in bringing light, peace and harmony to others through selfless service'.