Padharo Mhare Des
by Shaila Gupta
Padharo Mhare Des was this year’s theme of Cary Diawli. On October 10th, almost 12,000 people attended the celebration of Diwali at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, NC. HumSub, a cultural group based in Cary, NC, put on the 9th annual Cary Diwali festival, one of the largest open-air festivals of its kind in the south-eastern United States. This year’s theme focused on the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Rajasthan.
The day-long festival started off with breath-taking classical as well as Bollywood dances and inspiring musical performances. Kids, adults and people of all ages in between shared the stage on this day to display and embrace the spirit of Diwali, most in Rajasthani style. Altogether, more than 600 performers including many from outside the local Indian community performed. The celebration opened with a proclamation by the mayor of the Town of Cary, designating Oct 10 as the Ninth Cary Diwali Celebration. Also in attendance were U.S. Congressman David Price, Mayor of Cary, Harold Weinbrecht and Town of Cary Council Members, Julie Robison, Erv Portman, Jack Smith and Dan Frantz.. The highlight of the festival was a spectacular evening program featuring Indian Idol 2006 Sandeep Acharya and runner-up Aditi Paul. The two brilliant singers filled the open air venue with pop and classical tunes. As Sandeep Acharya finished his astounding act, fireworks leapt into the night’s sky, providing a wondrous ending to a fantastic day.
Aside from the day-long cultural program on the main-stage, the celebration included a unique exhibition on India, a handicrafts bazaar, and a variety of Indian cuisine. About 80 photographs of Rajasthan’s people, palaces, and landscape by noted Indian photo artist Prof. Shivnarayan Joshi were on display. People from both near and far and of all sorts of different ethnic background came together to enjoy the festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil.