Uttarakhand Samaj of Greater Chicago hosts Diwali

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Lamp Lighting ceremony at Oct. 7, 2022, Uttarakhand Diwali event, by USOGC President Chandan Singh along with Chief Guest Mrs. and Mr. Anil Loomba, Guest of Honor Consul Chicago Hon Vinod Gautham, Founder President AMEC & GSA Dr Vijay Prabhakar, FIA President Hitesh Gandhi, USOGC Advisory Board Member Dr. Ajit Pant and USOGC Past President Richa Chand. Photo: Asian Media USA

The Uttarakhand Samaj of Greater Chicago held the Festival of Lights celebration Oct. 7, 2022, at Ashton Place Banquets, Willowbrook, IL.

Guests came from near and far to attend the glittering evening dressed in their traditional pahadi attire, ‘Pahunchi’, ‘Galobandh’, ‘Hansuli’, ‘Nathuli’ & ‘Rangwali Pichauda,’ a press release from Asian Media USA said.

Colorful rangolis, marigold flowers, brightly lit deeyas and Lord Ganesha’s idol presiding at the entrance welcomed the guests into the elaborately decorated Banquet Hall.

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The cultural program began with a USOGC video presentation, compiled by Rashmi Joshi covering all the past year’s activities; followed by  Nanda Devi Yatra ( coordinators: Rajni Rawat & Rajeshwari Rawat), which represents a traditional pilgrimage   that takes place every year in Uttarakhand. The USOGC 2022 Board was invited on the stage for Team Introductions. The Indian and American national anthems were sung.

President Chandan Singh, in his speech welcomed all the guests and dignitaries and said the USOGC was meant to bring the Uttarakhandi community together in Greater Chicagoland.

The lamplighting ceremony was conducted by the main sponsors and guests of honor, and advisory board members, executive board members, and officeholders of USOGC.

Chief Guest, Anil Loomba, in his speech, expressed happiness that we all came together to celebrate the first Diwali event of the season. and he hoped that we will continue the tradition in the following years as well.

At the Oct. 7, 2022 Uttarakhand Society of Greater Chicago Diwali, seen in photo Chief Guest Anil Loomba, Guest of Honors- Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Consul Vinod Gautham with the USOGC Board members and other guests. Photo: USOGC

The Guest of Honor at the Event, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, addressed the excited and cheering audience, especially when he began his address with   “Namaskar Dagadiyo!” Dagadiyo is the word for ‘friends’ in Kumaoni/Garhwali language.  Krishnamoorthi commended the organizers for keeping the culture alive.

Guest of Honor Indian Consul Vinod Gautham, also echoed the same sentiment, and assured of the support from the Consul General’s office.

Several guests were honored for their various contributions to the community and society.

USOGC Board members, dance performers, and other participants with FIA Chairman and event Sponsor Sunil Shah, top center, at Oct. 7, 2022, Uttarakhand Society of Greater Chicago Diwali event. Photo: USOGC

Various cultural performances were a highlight of the evening, including Chalka Chalka Re – Kathak Dance by Aarya Bahuguna, and Bedu Pako Baaro Masa – a Pahari Folk Song, as well as singers Rashmi Gandhi & Hans Upadhyay;

Tero Lehanga – women’s group dance; Cham-cham Ghunghuroo solo dance by Kiran Rawat; a Ramayana skit. And numerous others.

Emcees Richa Chand, Mohan Rawat, Ruchi Dabral and Smita Pant, kept the audience engaged and entertained throughout the evening.

Raffle prizes and appreciation awards were  also part of the evening celebrations.

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