A world of ceremony showcasing Indian food, dance, music and activities, including a lamp-lighting ceremony, as well as access to Indian art at San Diego’s popular museums are all part of the upcoming 6th annual Festival of Lights.

Volunteers will light roughly fifty-five large brass lamps and one thousand and eight small lights around twilight “the way we light them in India during the auspicious festival of Diwali,” says festival founder M.C. Madhavan, who conceived the idea out of a need for a “signature socio-cultural program which involves a large number of people.”
“The lamps stand roughly three feet to five feet tall and are replicas of the types of beacons used in ancient Indian temples from different eras and cultures from various Indian states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Bengal, Maharashtra, and Karnataka,” adds Madhavan who is also the founder the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS) which sponsors the event.

Madhavan also noted the tolerant aspect of the Indian culture with respect to various religions. “e have lamps used by Hindus, Muslims and Christians for worship and plan to add more lamps to cover the diversity.”

For the current year, SDIAS is adding a nine feet tall replica of a lamp fixed in front of the ancient Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, Kerala.

Madhavan, a professor emeritus of economics and Asian studies at San Diego State University also partnered with the Mingei International museum, the San Diego Indian American Society as well as the San Diego Museum of Art which will provide docent tours emphasizing Indian paintings and art forms in their collections.

The San Diego Museum of Art is a depository of one of the largest Indian painting collections in the United States, known as Binny collections according to Madhavan. Admission to the museums is free to the public for the event.
Cultural activities, inclusive of participatory folk dances are also sure to attract event goers.

Each Indian state will be assigned space along El Prado, the bustling walking area on the east side of Balboa Park to promote their unique cultures in various forms of music, dance, art and food.

October 26, 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego. $5 per adult, $3 for students, Free for children 5 and under. Tickets will be available at the venue and Mingei International Museum on the day of the event. daudanih@yahoo.com, manish@1parikhs.com, ram.seshan@yahoo.com, neelubhardwaj@hotmail.com, sudesh_kumar@hotmail.com or david@globalaimusa.com.

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