THOUSANDS of people turned out to celebrate the Sikh new year and the opening of the main hall at a £14m temple.

The launch of the main hall at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Khalsa Avenue, Gravesend, was the centrepiece of the Vaisakhi celebrations in the town on Saturday (April 17).

Around 7,000 people took part in a parade around the new temple and the town centre to mark the Sikh new year, and there were also funfair rides and dance displays.

Gurdwara Management Committee secretary Tarsem Mahil said: “We are very happy to have opened the main hall of the gurdwara, and hope to officially open the rest of the building later this year.”

When it was first planned in 2000 the gurdwara was expected to be open in 2008, but changes to the design have seen the completion date delayed.

The gurdwara has been funded by donations from Gravesend’s Sikh community.