Festival of India brings Bollywood glamour to Tam-O-ShanterWritten by Kristen Criswell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Festival of India “Jai Ho 2010” will provide Toledoans a taste of Indian culture.
Hosted by the Hindu Temple and Heritage Hall of Toledo, the 21st annual Festival of India is aimed at celebrating the culture of India, said Arun Agarwal, festival chairman.
“We want to educate and remove the stereotypes of India. We also want to showcase the dances, clothing and food of India. We want people to see how loud and colorful everything is,” he said.
Jai Ho, which means “celebration of life,” will be bigger than previous years’ festivals, Agarwal said. This is the event’s first year at Tam-O-Shanter. The temple chose the new location to increase the size of the festival and reach a greater portion of the community, Agarwal said. Jia Ho will have a larger stage, 40 foot by 60 foot, and will feature several large screens. The change of location also provided more parking spaces.
The Festival of India Jai Ho will feature Indian dancing and henna as well as a fashion show and cooking demonstrations. The festival will also have booths with Indian food, jewelry, clothing and arts and crafts as well as Bollywood DVDs and CDs on sale.
The festival’s dancers are comprised of temple members, with many groups practicing for months. The dances will include classical dance, semi-classical dance, bhangra and Bollywood.
“[The dancing] is very graceful, very colorful. The costumes are just beautiful,” said Sangeeta Mehta, co-founder of Aha Dance Classes who is helping with some of the dances.
Three separate dance sessions will go on throughout the festival: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
In addition to dancing, fashion show will take place on stage. Mira Bedi, of Chrysalis Fashions located outside of Detroit, will showcase her Indian clothing designs.
Bedi specializes in Indian fashion from everyday wear to bridal clothing. Bedi will showcase woman’s, men’s and children’s clothing during a half hour fashion show, she said.
Besides the traditional Indian sari, there isn’t much of a difference in the fashion, Bedi said.
“I think this is not just for the Indian community,” she said. “There is so much Indian influence in American fashion. You can walk into Target or Neiman Marcus to buy a top and look at the tag and see it’s made in India.”
In addition to her fashion show, Bedi will also have a booth at the festival.
Deepam India owner Revathi Chillapalli will give two cooking demonstrations during the day’s events, she said.
Chillapalli, who owns Deepam with her husband, said it’s important for people to understand why Indians use many different spices.
“We don’t just use spices because they give flavor. Indian cooking is based on ayurvedic medicine, an ancient form of medicine. Basically what this medicine does, they believe in the holistic medicine, by feeding the body a balanced diet the body will heal itself,” she said.
Indian food uses lots of turmeric, which in the West has been found to have anti-cancer properties, Chillapalli said. Turmeric also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and cinnamon is known to reduce cholesterol, she said.
“When people have a reason for putting something in, they remember to use it,” Chillapalli said.
She will explain different spices and the spices’ purposes during her cooking demonstrations.
Deepam will have a booth at the festival selling Indian food. The booth will have samosas, or vegetable turnovers, as well as lemon rice, chili pakora and curry.
Mehta said the festival is a great way to experience a different culture.
“The festival is a lot of good food, good music and great dances,” she said.
The Festival of India runs Aug. 13 to Aug. 15. During the weekend the temple will host religious ceremonies the public is welcome to attend, but the main focus this year is events Aug. 14, Agarwal said. Events at Tam-O-Shanter run from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 14. The Festival of India is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.hindutempleoftoledo.org.