Thousands throng to Deepavali fair at Parramatta Park by the Hindu Council

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By Manju Mittal

Hindu Council of Australia (HCA) held a successful Diwali Fair at Parramatta Park on Sunday October 23, 2016. A large number of people came together to celebrate one of the most vibrant and largest festival of India. Diwali -the festival of lights is perhaps the one festival that elicits the most mixed emotions. It was perfect Indo-Aussie style of Diwali being one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated in Australia. Diwali bring smile on everyone’s face and they celebrate the bonds that are shared with family and friends.

Among the guests were present Dr.Geoff Lee; MP for Greenway, Michelle Rowland, MP; Consul General of India, Sydney the Hon B.Vanlavawna, Julie Owens MP, MLC Daniel Mookhey, MLC David Clark, and many other dignitaries and important personnel from the Government , Media, Consulate and community.

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HCA President Nihal Agar’s address appreciated the dedicated team of volunteers who had worked long hours to make the event a success. Chairman, Multicultural NSW, Dr.Harinath said, “I am delighted to offer my greetings to everyone attending the Diwali Fair and proud of our diversity and always encourage contributions from cultures from around the world who enrich our society”.

Consul General of India, Mr.Vanlavawna said, “Sydney paid tribute to Diwali on Friday October 21, by lighting up the Opera House in golden orange to commemorate the festival of lights.

Parramatta MP Dr.Geoff Lee said “It is nice to be here and share Diwali celebrations with members of the Indian Community”.

Hon. Ms. Michelle Rowland praised the festivals’ as a multicultural joyous occasion. Director and CEO, MultiConnexions and National Chair AIBC Sheba Nandkeolyar congratulated the organisers and praised Indian community and its contributions. MLC Daniel Mookhy said Diwali is a wonderful festival that allows members of Indian community to come together to celebrate something so unique and different. Julian Leeser MP also was at the fair as guest. Mrs Archana Chaudhary received honour on behalf of her late husband Kamlesh Chaudhary, an untiring member of the Hindu community who contributed enormously.

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The open air atmosphere and bright Sunny day was perfect for Sydneysiders to enjoy Diwali as weather co-operated and make the event perfect. People mingled and wished each other. The day was filled with spectacular cultural programs, Rangoli, Henna, Photo booth, fashion parade and delicious Indian food from various regions and an atmosphere that was just magical. The entertainment segment involved performers and art forms from every part of India including classical, traditional folk and Bollywood performances. The crowd were on their feet too including many youngsters youn including when they performed dance on “Bajirao Mastani’ song in traditional outfit.

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The stalls were aplenty with many selling real estate in Sydney to the new migrants from Indian community whose dream it is to own a house. Banks and loan lending booths were also up whereas people prayed to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi at the Hindu Heritage Society’s booth perhaps to pray to acquire a dream home. On the side a little hut was displayed with kids going in and out with Lord Hanuman’s pictures a favorite god of all Hindus. Nearby Hare Krishnas performed to the crowd kirtan with devotess swinging to the tune of ”˜Hare Rama Hare Krishna’.

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There were stalls selling coconut juice, kulfi and sugarcane juice to quench the thirst after hot piping chhole bhature and chaat papri. Stalls selling sweets had the people lining up to satisfy their sweet tooth. It was pure family entertainment with kids in dodgem cars and people shooting at clowns to win some prizes and close by a ferris wheel ride was enjoyed by kids as families kept a vigilant eye on them. Radio SBS stall had a virtual video to show artists doing Diwali drawings. People were enjoying roti shoti with friends and family.

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HCA D Fair 7 HCA D Fair 8 HCA D Fair 9 HCA D Fair 10 HCA D Fair 11 HCA D Fair 12The event ended with Fire works and Ravan effigy set on fire as the fireworks exploded inside it to let go of all negativity and embrace light and life. Diwali is truly an Indian festival and a social affair an occasion to reconnect the local Indian community full of fun, food and entertainment. Thanks HCA for putting up this  great Deepavali Mela!

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