Record Diwali turnout in Durban

A record crowd of 120 000 turned up for the Diwali festivities on the Durban beachfront at the weekend.

Festivities started on Saturday with a religious programme, followed by a variety concert and Indian bazaar.

The Beach Police commander, Captain Glen Nayagar, said 120 000 people turned up for the two-day event which ended with a spectacular fireworks display.

"I have not seen such a crowd before. It surpassed all events that have been held on the beachfront. My congratulations and compliments to the people of Durban. There were no arrests.

"They behaved in an admirable fashion. People of all colours turned up to enjoy the festival. The fireworks display which was the highlight of Saturday night was held up because I was not happy with the safety precautions.

"Once we got that right, it was a fascinating 15-minute display which excited the crowd. The number of people was certainly the largest since the inception of the festival," said Nayagar.

Chairman of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, said about 30 000 people took part in a series of fun events on Sunday.

He said at least 120 000 people attended the festival over the two days.

"We were even surprised by the large number of people who turned up for the prayers early on Sunday morning. It is clear that people want events like this on the beachfront," said Trikamjee.

A kite flying competition was popular, with scores of enthusiasts taking part with an array of multi-coloured and intricately shaped kites taking to the sky.



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