Launch of festival celebrating cultural links between Punjab and region
A festival celebrating the cultural link between Thetford and the Punjab has officially begun.
Numerous events, activities and celebrations will be held during the two-week Festival of Thetford and Punjab, which will run until July 21.
It will also commemorate the 125 anniversary of the death of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last King of the Punjab, who once owned Elveden Estate.
An evening with Sathnam Sanhera, the author of The Boy with the Topknot on July 13
In coversation with comedian and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli on July 18
Thetford Riverside On The Green presents sitar player Jonathan Mayer, on July 13
Organised by the Essex Cultural Diversity Project (ECDP), a £79,900 grant was awarded from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver the event.
The festival was officially launched on Saturday and included speeches from Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha and Sikh historian and biographer Peter Bance.
On the festival Gurinder said: “What is critical about the festival is at school I learnt about the Kings and Queens of England but I did not know about the Maharajah.
“It is a brilliant way for my kids to understand the connections of Britain with the Punjab.
“She added, it is a fantastic coming together of two places and cultures that you would not think connected, but are, and we can take pride in those connections.”
The Jugnu Bhangra Dancers also amazed the crowd with a stunning performance.
Mr Sandhu said: “We are trying to raise awareness of the links between the Punjab and Thetford. They are both agricultural and the customs are very similar.
“People know the story of Duleep Singh, but they don’t always know which part of India he was born in.
“It will be an amazing festival.”
Programmes can be found at various outlets around Thetford and online at the festival website.
Festival information and tickets are available through Leaping Hare or call 01842 751975