Hundreds flock to Manchester to celebrate Hindu festival of Navratri

Video report by ITV journalist Megan Samrai

More than 500 Hindus have been gathering every day in Manchester to celebrate one of the most sacred festivals in the Hindu calendar.

Navratri, meaning nine nights, honours the Goddess Durga and her nine manifestations.

People from all over the North West have been meeting each evening, from 26 September, at the Wythenshawe Forum and dancing until the early hours of the morning to celebrate.

During the festival, some people also fast or adopt a special diet.

Garba, a community circle dance, and other forms of traditional folk dance performed during Navratri Credit: ITV News

Pravin Arjan, a committee member for Navratri Festival Association Manchester, said: "For me, it's about togetherness and harmony in the community.

"Some of these people you don't see all year, and then when you meet them on the first day of Navratri it's always hugs and handshakes.

"It's such a wonderful period to see all the people from all different backgrounds all blending in and as one.

"People are from the North West, so Manchester, Bolton and the surrounding areas. But then you get people coming far as Bradford, Leeds.

"We've got one lady this year who's come from Portugal. She's especially come for the festival from Portugal."

Garba, a community circle dance, and other forms of traditional folk dance are performed during Navratri. Garba songs often depict the subjects of the nine goddesses.

A band was even flown in from Gujarat in India for the occasion Credit: ITV News

In Wythenshawe, people danced around a shrine dedicated to the goddess - where people left offerings such as fruit.

Anju Patel, joined by her mother Jasu Nardani, are no strangers to the event.

She said: "I've been coming here since I was the age of seven. And since then, I've never missed a year. I've not missed a year.

"Do you know what, it's the atmosphere. I think it's more of the atmosphere, people and the way they dance because every people have got a different way of dancing.

"Garba is when we do hand movements, Dandiya Raas is playing with sticks."

This year, Navratri runs from Monday, September 26 with the final night on Tuesday, October 4.