Work can take me to a few different places now and again, from the rainy Brecon Beacons taking pictures of soldiers to swelteringly hot Oman teaching Photography.
Today, I was at The Shri Venkateswara Balaji Temple in Birmingham covering the Armed Forces Hindu Network hosting a Raksha Bandhan festival for members of the armed forces.
Raksha Bandhan is a major Hindu festival, symbolising bonds of mutual protection within families and within communities. For Armed Forces Hindus, Raksha Bandhan holds particular significance as it’s a chance to celebrate and emphasise the duty the Armed Forces have to protect their society. This representation heralds from when Sachi, wife of Lord Indra (King of Heaven), tied a sacred protective amulet to his wrist before he went into battle with evil King Bali, whom he ultimately defeated.
The event was attended by Minister for Armed Forces Penny Mordaunt
Minister for Armed Forces Penny Mordaunt lights the diya which symbolises the fire deity.
Soldiers receive their Rakhi
Minister for Armed Forces Penny Mordaunt receives her Rakhi
We were treated to a traditional Hindu cultural dance
We also had a tour of the Hindu temple which is the biggest in Europe
Afterwards we were treated to a traditional Hindu meal
The group outside the temple
The biggest Hindu temple in Europe
It was a pleasure to cover the event. It was very interesting to hear what all the speakers had to say and to learn what the festival was about.
I was struggling at first with the lack of light inside the hall but I knew that my cameras could be pushed a lot on the ISO front. I am still rocking the old Nikon D3 as my D4 is still in for repair. It still handles the low light brilliantly though. I used the D800 with the 14-24mm for all the wide shots and the D3 with either a 24-70mm or a 70-200mm lens for the mids and closeups.
All images Crown Copyright Cpl Timothy Jones RLC