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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Festival of India Review | Parramatta

Festival Girl Rates: 6/10

This is the first time I have attended this event. I initially thought that this event would be similar to Parramasala but noticeably, there were a few differences. The Festival of India celebrates Krishna Janmastami - the divine appearance of Lord Krishna in the world 5,000 years ago. 

The Festival of India organised by ISKCON, aims to preserve the spiritual values, culture and to help devotees to recharge themselves with Krishna consciousness - a peaceful state of being. I must admit, I have a very basic understanding of the religious practice and culture, so if I do get anything wrong, just let me know. As usual, I am always willing to experience something new and learn more about different cultures, and show you all some of the highlights of the day.

Free samples of sweet dessert Suji Halva, the Indian dessert is made of semolina, saffron and ground cardamom and the taste is very refreshing. With Middle Eastern origins, this dessert has numerous known recipes with other versions popular in Greece and Turkey.

Families enjoying the event on a warm winter's day

Stalls selling unique Indian accessories, bags, jewellery and henna tattoos

Bollywood is the new Hollywood!

Instead of your regular food stalls, two tables were taking payments and in turn you would receive your food tokens.

Once you had your token, you take it up to stall to collect your food. I must admit, I really didn't know what most of the dishes were, but after a quick chat with the friendly staff, me and my boy decided on Rajma Chawal at $6 a plate and Pav Bhaji with salad at $8 a plate. I was really surprised to find out both our dishes were vegetarian and were so good they almost fooled my carnivore boy. We also tried Badam Milk which is so yummy. It's basically an almond milk with sliced almonds with a refreshing cardamom taste. Yum!

I love the decorative lanterns

Hooray for the kids corner with lots of arts and crafts for the children...

...or giant slippery-slide or bouncing castle...

...or yummy fairy floss...

This foyer lead to a performance hall at the back where children and performers were singing and playing instruments. To the left hand side was the sacred area for prayer, where you needed to take off your shoes.

Some performers slipping past

 Here is a gorgeous little girl who looks like she was involved in the festivities. I love the use of textile, colour and textures that is involved in the Indian culture.

This was the sacred area where a priest held out a plate of burning flames and people would pass, put their hands quickly through the fire and quickly brush their hands over their heads. 

A beautifully decorated shrine of flower strings, flowers and other offerings while chanting and prayers were occurring.

The activities room to learn more about Krishna

This area showed displays of beautiful paintings for sale depicting Krishna god in different interpretations. These paintings are so delightful and colourful up-close. 

Some deity sculpture and adornments for sale

Krishna and Balarama Steal Butter from the Gopis

So colourful - here is their lordship Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha

Gopala Krishna

I love this image - It is so powerful and inspiring.

Krishna and Mother Yashoda. If you want to see more beautiful depictions, they can be found here

On a low note, I don't think an $8 all-day parking charge that was not stated on the website is a good way to motivate attendance. I understand the venue needs to generate some revenue from the event, but with most people staying 1-2 hours, it doesn't really seem fair that an all day charge is imposed. I think people would be more than happy to pay a few dollars for the time they stay, but a full day charge seems a little steep. 

All in all, it was an enjoyable afternoon out. I think the event has great potential to become a well rounded event and I think it is on its way. It's great to see that the event is organised all by volunteers and devotees, but I would love to see it continue to grow with more entertainment, or stalls that the public can learn a little more about the celebration. Perhaps a few more interactive activities like a yoga display, mini fashion parade or 'how to' segment on how to make some delicious vegetarian treats. 

I hope to see you there next year.

xox Love, 

Festival Girl


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