Thousands celebrate culture at park

VIDEO Thousands flocked to Ipswich's Christchurch Park for a celebration of Indian arts and culture.

THOUSANDS flocked to Ipswich's Christchurch Park for a celebration of Indian arts and culture.

Indian head massage, traditional dancing, live music and authentic Asian food were just some of the things on offer at the annual Indian summer mela.

Organised by the Ipswich and Suffolk Indian Association as part of this year's IP-Art festival, yesterday's mela - which means 'meet' - was blessed with sunshine.

Leader of Ipswich Borough Council Liz Harsant opened the afternoon's celebrations.

She said: “I'm very proud of Ipswich's communities both old and new. This is a time to celebrate.”

Artist Hemendra Nathwani was among those displaying wares inside the event's main marquee.

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He said: “I sold icons of Indian gods and goddesses. This was a lovely event and there was such a big crowd. It's a chance for the Indian community to get together.”

Offering a selection of samosas, special biryani and fresh coconut, Ahbab Hussain, of Kesgrave-based firm Taste of India, said: “Mela is a great way of expressing Indian culture and it gives us great pleasure to be involved.”

IP-Art committee member Neelu Sinhal said: “This year's theme is 'Rang - a - Mela' and rang means colour.

“Everybody from all different cultures across Suffolk came together to meet and share their backgrounds.”

Ipswich MP Chris Mole said: “This is an excellent way of celebrating the wider communities of Ipswich and Suffolk in all their diversity.

“The mela is an opportunity to learn about the diverse heritage that so many of our citizens have.”

Felixstowe mother-of-two Lucy Barnsley-Sadasivan said: “It's a fantastic day. The Indian community seems to be growing both here in Ipswich and in Felixstowe and it is important to recognise that.”

Were you at the mela? What did you think of the event? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

To see video footage of the mela visit, and see tomorrow's Evening Star for more pictures of the event.

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