This August marked the third Yatra held by NHSF (UK), where we aim to get Hindu students to connect with nature and their Karmabhoomi in Britain. We strive to create a memorable and challenging experience that students will want to build upon each year. This experience is unique and hasn’t been done since our previous Yatra last year. Yatra provides a platform for the Samaj and students to challenge their spiritual, mental and physical strength. Furthermore, this allows them to connect with other university committees from across the country and with the Samaj. 

A common Yatra covers a few key sessions where we conduct a Puja at the summit, Surya Namaskar and discussion about the environment in relation to Hindu Dharma, as well as our connections to Bharat. A Surya Namaskar is a Yoga Asanas (poses) that challenges the individual through various positions, it is also known as a sun salutation. 

On top of the numerous sessions, the day has features common to many of our National Events; Aarti, Bhojan Mantra and experience activities. These features are essential to providing moments of reflection throughout the day and plant the seed of spirituality in students, important for one’s individual development. Many of the attendees felt a spiritual boost after the experience through their connections with nature and the challenging hike. 

After the event, we encouraged attendees to attend the Chattri Memorial which was near the site of the Yatra at Seven Sisters. The Chattri Memorial is a significant site that marks the contribution and the bravery of the Indian army soldiers who gave their lives and saw active service alongside the British troops during World War One. This especially marks those Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in Brighton War Hospital and those who were later cremated at the site. There were over 1.5 million soldiers in the Indian Army during World War One. We were honoured to be present at the Chattri Memorial. Many of the attendees felt proud for the pivotal role that the soldiers played during the darkest days of the war. 

It was pointed out that the Chattri Memorial was in poor condition, with the memorial having many cracks and discoloration in the stone, as well as unkempt grass and hedges around the memorial. It was upsetting to witness the state of the memorial considering the impact of the soldiers on the war effort. We want to encourage all of the Hindu Samaj to push for more awareness for the site. We can do this by encouraging more people from the local area and wider to attend the site and host memorial services. Additionally, push for greater funding and fundraising for the upkeep and maintenance of the site. We must ensure that the Chattri Memorial is in a good state to honour the bravery and courage of the Hindu and Sikh soldiers who served in the war. 

Kishan Jivan, National Events Team Saha