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On-the-spot France

Ganesh festival celebrated by hindus in Paris

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More than 25,000 Hindus from France and all over Europe, gathered in an area near the Gare du Nord in Paris known as "Little Jaffna" yesterday to celebrate the annual Ganesh festival. Hindus pray and make offerings to the half-elephant half-child deity Ganesh so it will offer its benediction and protection to believers. The festival, now in its 17th year, is organised by the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple, founded and run by members of the Tamil community. More than 80,000 Tamils live in France, many of whom fled the civil war in Sri Lanka during the 1980s and were given asylum here. The festival has grown to become the largest in Europe partly because of the community's unfailing belief in Ganesh's power to solve their problems.

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