Festive sounds of music, laughter and dancing floated across Aldenham at a special celebration to mark Diwali.

Flocks of around 5,000 people enjoyed the annual Hindu new year festivities at Bhaktivedanta Manor, in Hillfield Lane, Aldenham, yesterday.

The temple was the centre of celebrations across Hertsmere, which featured a special play about the history of the festival of lights, dancing shows and traditional Hindu food.

Organisers of the event were forced to cancel the fireworks due to the bad weather conditions over the past few weeks – but were determined not to let this dampen spirits.

Temple spokesman Radha Mohan Das said: “It was a really fantastic day. The decision to cancel the fireworks was not taken lightly but we still managed to have a wonderful time.

“The weather on the day was actually fantastic, so that also contributed into helping make the day a huge success.

“Families seemed to have a great time – Diwali is a family occasion. Seeing people enjoy themselves after we put so much hard work and preparation into making the event a success was a huge relief.”

Diwali is the biggest Hindu festival and special guests at the manor included Borehamwood and Elstree Mayor Charles Kelly and politician Eric Pickles. .