San Diego Declares October ‘Hindu Heritage Month’; Colorful Navaratri Festivities At Balboa
By Harini Narasimhan
SAN DIEGO, CA – The vibrant culture and contributions of the local Indian and Hindu community were celebrated on October 14 in a grand ceremony at the Organ Pavilion. Mayor Todd Gloria marked the occasion by proclaiming October as “Hindu Heritage Month,” recognizing the profound influence of the Hindu community on the city’s cultural fabric.
Mayor Gloria, amidst the luminous backdrop of the Organ Pavilion, paid homage to the essential role that the local Hindu community has played in enriching the lives of San Diegans. He commended the community for its dedication to preserving the rich Hindu culture, emphasizing the values encapsulated in the Hindu philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” which signifies the unity of the world as one family.
In addition to the Hindu Heritage Month proclamation, CA State Senator Brian Jones, (District 40), honored Ekal Vidyalaya USA and the local chapter of Sewa International for their commendable community service efforts. These organizations have left an indelible mark with their impactful grassroots-level social welfare initiatives both in San Diego and globally.
Sewa International, renowned for its unwavering commitment to assisting those in need, has been at the forefront during international calamities and in supporting underserved communities in San Diego during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ekal USA is dedicated to ensuring every child receives a quality education, irrespective of their social and financial status, operating over 100,000 schools in remote tribal areas of India.
The representatives of these two organizations were presented with plaques during a lively cultural program held at Balboa Park. This event, hosted by Sewa International and Ekal USA, coincided with the Hindu festivals of Navaratri and Dussehra. The celebration featured a mesmerizing musical dance drama based on the epic Ramayana, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil and depicting the life of Lord Rama.
Multiple dance schools brought the Ramayana to life with remarkable precision, showcasing the epic battle with the multi-headed Ravana on stilts and the heroic Vanara sena with Rama and Lakshmana. The festivities reached a crescendo with a dazzling light display culminating in a heartwarming victory scene, accompanied by cheers of “Jai Ramji ki” from the audience. The evening continued with spirited Dandia and Garba dancing that engulfed the entire Organ Pavilion, filling the air with unbridled joy.
The event featured performances by Mayur Natyalaya, Sri Meenakshi Srinivasan Dance Group, Avartan Dance Academy, San Diego Maharashtra Mandal Dhol Tasha Group, Urvashi Dance Academy, Nupoor Dance Academy, and Dandiya Dance by Margi Shah. DJ Vivek Arya kept the energy high, with Lakshmi Narasimhan serving as the emcee, while a dedicated team of volunteers ensured the event’s success.
Local restaurants tantalized attendees’ taste buds with delectable Indian cuisine, and various stalls offered Indian clothing and trinkets, providing a holistic cultural experience for all in attendance.