London’s spice trail: the sights, tastes, smells and sounds of India – in Wembley

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In one of a series of new women-led tours, groups visit the shops, cafes, restaurants and magnificent Hindu temple on Wembley’s Ealing Road

Statues of 41 deities in bright robes and garlands watch as we walk, silent and sock-footed, through endless intricate archways and air that smells of sandalwood and jasmine. A mirrored table under the elaborate central dome reflects rings of dancing figures. The Shri Sanatan Hindu temple, opened in 2010 on the Ealing Road, is a mesmerising slice of north India surrounded by grey London suburbs. The walls and more than 200 limestone pillars were hand-carved in Gujarat, featuring birds, animals and scenes from Hindu scripture.

Vaishali Patel, who lives four miles away in Harrow, has brought a group of us to the temple as part of a new tour that celebrates the vibrant colours, tastes and textiles of Wembley’s Indian community. She created this half-day experience after studying with The Tour Guiding Academy, a training programme run by social enterprise Women in Travel. It’s one of a growing number of women-led local tours in London.

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