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Windermere Observer Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2019 2 months ago

Indian fest celebrates culture at the Jamuna Center

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A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit breast cancer research and schools in India.
by: Hannah Swayze News Editor

The front lawn of the Jamuna Center will come alive with dancing, arts and music in a joyous celebration during the Indian Culture Fest from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 6. 

The Jamuna Center, also known as the Santoshi Ma Temple, is a small self-funded Hindu temple in Windermere. It was founded by Neera Kar two decades ago. Located at 10900 Park Ridge Gotha Road, it serves as a place for people in the community to gather and practice yoga, learn art and dance and attend religious services. 

To commemorate the longevity of the center, several members of the community have teamed up to host Indian Culture Fest, a day of celebration with music, art, dancing and plenty of food. The public is invited and there is no fee to attend. 

One organizer, Supriya Devnani, a yoga teacher and vocalist, has been involved with the temple and teaching for four years. She and another teacher will be in charge of the musical aspect of the festival.

She said the goal of the festival also is to spread awareness of the temple, which is the only one of its kind within a five-state area. 

“This is just one way of bringing the tradition and the culture of the country (to the community), (to) let them know how vibrant we are as a culture,” Devnani said.

“This is how we celebrate, how we bring about awareness, it’s all about celebrating and getting the kids to be aware of how things work.” 

The food is what Devnani believes will be the biggest appeal, especially since the festival is right around lunchtime. One of the vendors is Chandrika Patel, who will be serving dalwada and dhokla, Indian snacks made with her family’s recipes.

Patel has been involved with the temple for more than six years and said, to her, the temple and being part of the community is a source of positivity in her life. 

Along with plenty of food, also scheduled is a Bollywood-style dance performance and singing by community members. There will also be vendors selling Indian jewelry and clothing. 

The day also is a way for the center to give back. A portion of all proceeds from the event will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Ekal Vidyalaya, an organization that builds schools in India. 

The festival educates the younger generations about their culture as well, reminding them of their roots, Devnani said. 

“As first generation immigrants to this county, I think it’s important (that) our children and their children become aware of what we left behind and how much we hang on to our traditions,” Devnani said. 

Visitors attending the festival will need to park next door at Windermere Union Church due to limited space. 

Hannah Swayze is the News Editor at the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. She is former staff writer of the Johnson City Press in Johnson City, Tennessee. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in media...

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