Prehistoric Britons placed valuable metalwork into the Thames, Mediaeval Londoners cast pilgrim badges into the river and in recent times South Asian Londoners have made offerings. We’re exploring some of these practices for #SouthAsianHeritageMonth, 18 July – 17 August

A few years ago, our volunteer Ann Sydney, spoke to members of the community about some of the Hindu and traditional Chinese/Taoist artefacts we find on the Thames for her Riverpedia article, you can read here.

During the festival of light (5th November in 2021), Diwali to Hindus and Jains, Bandi Chhor Divas to Sikhs, lamps or candles are floated on the river and lit by homes. For Hindus this commemorates the return of Rama and Sita (avatars of Vishnu and Lakshmi) from exile.

During the festival of Ganesh Chauturthy in September, the elephant headed, obstacle removing god Ganesh’s birthday is celebrated. Unfired clay figures (murtis) of the god are ceremonially imbued with his spirit and honoured during the festival. (Below seen at Isleworth)


These figures (Murtis) of the Hindu god Ganesh were probably part of the Ganesh Chaturthy festival which celebrates his birthday. At the end of the festival the murtis were placed in the river to be slowly washed away.

At the end of the festival the murtis are placed in rivers, ponds, or the sea to gently disintegrate freeing the divine essence which they were created to connect with.