Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Feature Story


By NITISH S. RELE, [email protected]

Here are some of the Florida communities celebrating Navratri:

TAMPA: The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will celebrate Navratri on Friday, Oct. 8, and Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 2506 W. Idlewild Ave. On Oct. 15-16, the festival of nine nights will be held at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road. Performing will be Hemant Chauhan. Also, additional performances will be held Sunday, Oct. 10 in Pasco County and Sunday, Oct. 17 in Pinellas (venues are to be announced). The event is free for Samaj members. Non-members pay $20 per night and students pay $10 per night. For more information, call Samaj President Himmatbhai Parekh at (813) 969-1661 or visit www.gujaratisamaj.org

Also, SOIKOT (Bengali Society of Tampa Bay) will hold a Durga Puja Soikot on Oct. 16-17 at the Hindu Temple, 5509 Lynn Road, and India Cultural Center on Lynn Road. Performing on Oct. 16 will be talented singer Somlata. One of the leading Bengali bands Kaya and Ms Ivy, a rising star of Indian music, will perform Oct. 17. For more information, call Jyotirmoy Sarkar at (813) 971-0564, Raja Sarker at (813) 994-5834, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.soikot.org

The Sanatan Mandir at 311 E. Palm Ave. will hold a Navratri Chandi Havan at 4 p.m. Oct. 16 followed by an Anand Mela/Ram Mila cultural program at 6 p.m. There will be food stalls, fun fairs and fireworks. For more information, call the temple at (813) 221-4482.

And the Hindu Temple of Florida, 5509 Lynn Road, will hold Devi Navratri from Oct. 8-16 with Vijaya Dasami at 9 a.m. and Sri Rama and Devi Prakara Utsava on Oct. 16. For information, call (813) 962-6890.  

ORLANDO: The Gujarati Society of Central Florida will hold Garba from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Oct. 8-9 and Oct. 15-16 at Lyman High School, 865 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood. Performing groups are Lakhia Brothers and Raj Pandya. It is free for society members. Daily pass is $25 for non-members. Students with ID pay $15. For information, call Nilkanth Kapadia at (407) 832-3835, Sunil Patel at (407) 474-4773, Sunil Panchal at (386) 479-3055, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.gujaratisocietycfl.com

Also, the Hindu Society of Central Florida will present Navratri 2010 at 8 p.m. Oct. 8-16 at the temple, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry. The Rawal Brothers will perform. For more information, call the temple at (407) 699-5277, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.hindutempleorlando.org

MELBOURNE: The Indian Association of the Space Coast will hold Navratri celebrations Oct. 9, Oct. 16 and Oct. 23 at Viera High School, 6103 Stadium Parkway, Viera (incorporated part of Melbourne area). For more information, call association President Hitesh Patel at (321) 961-7776 or visit www.iascbrevard.com

BARTOW/WINTER HAVEN: The Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida will celebrate Navratri Oct. 8-9 at Nora Mayo Hall, 500 Third St. N.W., in Winter Haven. On Oct. 15-16, garba/dandiya raas will be at the Bartow Civic Center, 2250 South Floral Ave., Bartow. And from Oct. 22-24, it will be at the Orange Dome, 150 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven. For more information, call Samaj President Jayant J. Patel at (863) 802-1868 or Vice President Sandeep Bosmia at (863) 205-5929 or visit www.bscfl.com

JACKSONVILLE: The Hindu Society of NorthEast Florida, 4968 Greenland Road, will observe Durgashtami on Friday, Oct. 15, and Vijaya Dashami/Dassera on Oct. 17. For information, call (904) 268-7630 or visit www.jaxhindutemple.org

DAYTONA BEACH: The Indian Cultural Society of Daytona will hold Garba/Dandiya Raas 7 to 11:30 p.m. Oct. 8-19. The event is free for society members; non members pay $10. For more information, call President Sangeeta Bhoola at (386) 527-0855 or Kashyap Patel at (386) 615-8241 or visit www.icsdaytona.com

PEMBROKE PINES: The South Florida Leuva Patidar Samaj, Indian Religious & Cultural Center and Gujarati Samaj of South Florida will celebrate Navratri 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Oct. 8-9 and Oct. 16. Performing the first two days is the Navrang group of Orland. Live DJ Johnny will perform on Oct. 16. The event will be at Silver Trail Middle School, 18300 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines. Tickets are $20 for three days in advance or $30 for three days at the gate. For more information, call Ashok Patel at (305) 519-2229, Sanjay Gupta at (954) 461-4003 or D.A. Patel at (305) 247-6621.

DAVIE: The South Florida Hindu Temple will hold Navratri celebration from Oct. 8-17. Garba and dandiya raas will be 8:45 to 10 p.m. weekdays and 8:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekends. Admission is free on weekdays but on weekends (Oct. 8-10 and Oct. 15-17) there will be a $3 charge. Children under 10 years of age are free. Live music will be presented by Seema Nayak group Oct. 15-16 and Kuntal Choksi group on Oct. 9 and Oct. 17. The temple is at 13010 W. Griffin Road, Davie. For more information, call the priest Devanathan Shivacharyaji at (954) 252-8802, Ravin Mehta at (954) 701-3500, Narendra Upadhyaya at (954) 986-1232 or visit www.sfht.org

SUNRISE: The Bengali Association of South Florida is organizing Durga Pujo Oct. 16-17 at Westpine Middle School, 9393 N.W. 50th St. (just south of Commercial Boulevard near the Sawgrass Expressway, in between Nob Hill Road and Pine Island Road). Amit Paul of “Indian Idol” fame will perform on Oct. 16. For details, email [email protected] or visit www.basfl.org

OAKLAND PARK: The Shiva Mandir, 3000 N.W. 29th Ave., Oakland Park, will hold a Navratri Yagya from 6:30 p.m. till 9:30 p.m. Oct. 8-17 officiated by Pandit Bimal Maharaj. On the last day, the yagya will be from 9 a.m. till noon. Durga Ashtami will be observed on Oct. 14. For more information, call (954) 735-3560, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.fhosm.com

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The most anticipated Indian cultural event in Florida happens this month when all roads lead to Tampa. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the 23rd annual India Festival on Saturday, Oct. 30, at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.

“To still be around and be such a successful show is both an exciting and humbling prospect,” said India Festival Chairman Kanti Bakarania.

Kanti Bakarania

Organized by the Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, about 80 vendor booths will offer clothing, jewelry, film DVDs and CDs, arts and crafts, photo studio, home décor, etc. There also will be numerous eateries selling delicacies such as samosas, bhel puri, chicken curry and dosas.

On the lower level stage, performers will be adorned in colorful attire for four categories of dance competition – garba, raas, folk and bhangra. Throughout the Sun Dome, several closed-circuit TV monitors will be set up so people can shop and eat while watching the dances.

Indian-American communities in such far places as Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Gainesville and Ocala among others will be participating in dozens of competitions. Also, several local dignitaries and city/county officials will be gracing the festival.

The India Festival will be held 1 to 10 p.m. Oct. 30 at the USF Sun Dome, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for children 12 and younger. For information, call Kanti Bakarania at (813) 653-4981, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.indiafestivaltampa.com

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