Thousands gathered in various venues in New York and New Jersey for Ganesh Mahotsav and Dussehra
Broadway Commons Mall in Hicksville, N.Y., buzzed with excitement Sept. 6, as committee members from the Indo -American Festivals, Inc. of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Mahotsav gathered to decorate the pandal for the Ganesh festival. They were led by Atul Sharma and Bina Sabapathy.
A 12-feet idol of Lord Ganesh, specially crafted for the occasion in Mumbai was the center of festivities over two days as devotees flocked to the pandal to receive Darshan (blessings from the Lord), participate in the cultural program and witness the what organizers billed as the “FIRST EVER GANESH LEELA musical performed outside of India,” a press release from Indo American Festivals, said.
In addition to various local dance schools presenting their talented students, Falguni Shah, a Grammy nominee, entertained the crowd with her music.
An Arts and Painting competition was held during the festivities, organized and sponsored by Vinod Sinha who also inaugurated the festival.
Other major sponsors were Vimal Goyal, Kanak Golia, and Dr. Navin (Navika Pharmaceuticals)
Apart from the Ganesh Mahotsav in Hicksville, two other festivals were celebrated around the tri-state under the aegis of Indo American Festivals Inc. They included Dussehra celebrations at Lido Beach, N.Y., on Sept. 28, and Papaianni Park in Edison Oct. 5.
This was IAF’s 5th year celebrating Dushahra (Dussehra) in New York. “The unseasonably warm day witnessed large crowds at Lido Beach,” organizers said, including the Chief Guest Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty who brought his entire team and stayed to watch the Ramleela performed by Navrang Dance Academy.
Jaime Tiso, the representative from New York’s Parks & Recreation Department, also attended the inauguration ceremony.
The New York Committee members include Chairperson Dr. Ravindra Goyal, President Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Vice Chairperson Bina Sabapathy, Vice President Vimal Goyal, Secretary Anjali Gumaste, Treasurer Shekhar Goyal, as well as Atul Pareek, Vinod Goyal, Anurag Nigam, Sanjiv Chand, Bachooji, Krishna, Suman Sharma, Damayanti Goyal and Suman Mittal.
The New Jersey Dushahra festival celebrated its 21st year and witnessed the largest crowds yet, according to the press release.
The event was inaugurated by New Jersey State Sen. Samuel Thompson, R-District 12), and Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey, along with Councilman Joe Coyle, Councilman Ajay Patil, former N.J. State Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Dr. Prashad, Avadhoot Guru Arun Giriji Maharaj, Vikas Mishra, Mahesh Chitnis, Parikh Worldwide Media COO Ilayas Qureshi, among others.
Mayor Lankey has been instrumental in providing the beautiful venue for this festive event for the past two decades and was extremely supportive of the celebrations, organizers said.
The Middlesex County Culture and Heritage Commission extended full support, without which free admission cannot be provided to events of such magnitude, according to organizers.
The New Jersey Committee comprised of Chairperson Chanchal Gupta, Vice Chairperson Raj Mittal, President Atul Sharma, along with Ashwini Kumar, Kamal Daga, Sharad Agrawal, Rajiv Vaish, Rajeev Sharma, Sudha Sharma, Sumita Trivedi, Nyanada Sharma, Dinesh Mittal, Dr. Rajiv Mehta, Kunal Mehta, Jaswant Mody, and volunteers Kshitij Mittal, Dharmesh Agrawal, Vijay Garg, Kunal Gupta, Shalini Chhabra, Kamlesh and Ravi Mehrotra.
The major sponsors for these events were NY Life, Zee TV, EBC Radio, Villas Realty, Cici’s Pizza, Parikh Worldwide Media, TV Asia, Shan Masala, BCB Indus American Bank, Mass Mutual, Glenwood Office Furniture, Suhag Jewelers and many more.
Indo- American festivals, Inc. is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization, founded by late Mangal Gupta in 1999 for celebrating Indian culture and traditions in United States.