Indo-American Festivals of Long Island in New York celebrated its 3rd Annual Grand Dushahra Festival at Lido Beach, in Hempstead, NY on October 15, culminating with a spectacular burning of a 40-foot Ravan effigy. Lido Beach came alive on Sunday with a crowd of more than 4,000 people who had traveled long distances to witness the celebration of the Dushahra festival in Long Island.
This year, the festival was inaugurated by Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino and Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmed, Chairperson( IAF-Tristate) Chanchal Gupta, Chairperson-NY Dr. Ravindra Goyal, President Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Vice President Avtar Sharma, Raj Mittal along with community leaders like Dr. Raj Bhayani, Kamlesh Mehta, Surinder Kathuria, Bina Sabapathy, Dharmatma Saran, Miss India Worldwide 2017 Madhu Valli, Kanak Golia, Manu Sharma, Ranga from New York Life, and the Bollywood singer Archit. he festival had something for everyone to enjoy- a colorful cultural program organized by Indu Gajwani with beautiful dances, classical and Bollywood music by Archit, and Falguni Shah. Children had an opportunity to showcase their immense talent through singing, dancing and various cultural activities. Food vendors sold crowd favorites from chat, pau bhaji, Bhel Puri samosas and the usual street-fair favorites.
This was followed by Ram Leela, a dramatic musical rendering of the Hindu epic Ramayana, which was brought to life by Varsha Naik and her team, almost 50 performers of the Navrang Dance Academy. The crowd watched with rapt attention as the artists wearing beautifully designed period costumes enacted the different events in Lord Rama’s life, culminating in the defeat of the mighty King Ravan of Lanka, followed by burning of a model Lanka and a 40ft effigy of the Demon King.
“Dushahra” is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. It is observed on the tenth day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over the Demon King Ravan. The festival was a fun-filled day of celebration with a variety of vendors selling Indian food, clothing, toys, home décor items and much more.
The Dushahra festival was originally started in 1999 by the founder and chairman Mangal Gupta in New Jersey and has since grown exponentially to become the Annual Grand Dushahra Festival, but not without the overwhelming support of the committee members, Dr. Ravindra Goyal, Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Shyam and Indu Gajwani, Kamal Daga, Atul Sharma, Neelima Goyal, Damyanti Goyal, Suman Sharma, Mukesh Modi, Jagdish Awasthi, Kamal Daga, Vinod Goyal, Sushil Goyal, who have been working continuously for several months to make this event possible.