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The Bay Area Himachal Group celebrated Himachal Day with great aplomb and gusto at the India Community Center in Milpitas, California on April 16th. Ranjan Zed lit a lamp and read the Gayatri Mantra to open the event.

Ranjan serves as a chaplain in Nevada and California hospitals and received a “World Interfaith Leader Award ” by NAIF for his leadership, courage, and capacity for inspiring interfaith dialogue and cordial relations between faith communities.

Lighting the lamp at Bay Area Himachal Day celebrations

The Honorable Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, sent an audio message thanking the Bay Area community for showcasing the state’s culture and traditions. Mr. Sukhu described how his newly elected government is investing in the environment, education, economy, and technology to strengthen progressive initiatives in Himachal Pradesh and the state’s tourism industry.

A banner celebrating the Bay Area Himachal Day event

Attendees included Mr. Gokul Butail, who currently serves as the Principal Advisor (Innovation & IT) to the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh in the rank of Cabinet minister. Gokul, the Joint Secretary of AlCC and a Mechanical & Aerospace engineer from IIT, has worked with the Bay Area Himachal Group since its inception to provide support and encouragement to the Himachali community.

The Bay Area celebrates Himachal Day on April 16

Tom Pyke mentioned that Ro Khanna’s grandfather was from Kangra and it was wonderful to see the rich culture of Himachal on display. Ajay Bhutoria commented on the beauty of Himachal and its rich traditions and culture represented by guests in traditional clothing.

Bay Area Himachalis worked tirelessly to showcase their traditional Nati, Gidda, poetry, Pahadi songs, and a fashion show for a crowd of over five hundred people! 

Himachal Day at the India Community Center, Milpitas

Also in attendance was Dr. Akshai Runchal, who works through the Kangra Arts Promotion Society to revive, reinvigorate and preserve the Kangra School of Art, encourage artists, and mentor a new generation, and to build a treasury of Kangra paintings.

Other dignitaries at the Himachal Day event included State Senator Dave Cortese, Congressman Ro Khanna’s District Director Tom Pyke, Presidential Advisory Commission Ajay Bhutoria, State Assembly Members Ash Kalra, Alex Lee, County Supervisors Cindy Chavez, Otto Lee, and Santa Clara Council member Raj Chahal.

The crowd danced to beautiful songs and the music of the hills. Young and old put up a spectacular show as emcees and quiz masters. Guests enjoyed Himachali cuisine, such as Dhaam, and delicacies from different districts of Himachal including dishes like Madra, Channe ka Khatta, Mukkand Baree, Dal, Paneer, Chawal, Badane ka meetha and Himachal saunf, all cooked by Chef Vittal of Jalsa Catering.

A performer singing at the Himachal Day celebration

Proceeds collected from the Himachal Day Celebrations went to UNI Charity, a 501(c) non profit organization, founded by Amiyata Kalia in 2021, to help sick children with congenital heart diseases by offering timely care and financial support.

Click here to watch a video of the event.