We had one of our big Diwali celebrations in San Diego on October 15, 2016. It was the Festival of Lights held at Balboa Park. It was a fantastic event, yet again. This year it was special, because as well as dancing, we had singing, and there was a world-class singer who entertained us, so it was truly magnificent. His name is Aditya Rao, and apparently he has won several awards, and has appeared in several videos like the one below:
Here he is performing at Balboa Park, and he’s also seen in this video that I made
Here is a video that shows the lighting of the lamps display, and the women carrying the lamps during the lamp parade.
Here is a video showing Punjabi music and specifically, Bhangra at the Festival Of Lights….spectacular!
Here are more photos showing Aditya Rao, and the performances that he was part of.
Here are some other pictures taken at Festival Of Lights
These are the lamps on display. I have never taken pictures of the lamps before as I always get a seat, and never venture towards the lamps, but this year I did, and I’m glad!
Here are some of the other performances
One of Aditya Rao again, with the main presenter
Here’s little Chandra having fun!
This is Aditya Rao standing with the main organizers and this is just prior to the Indian Anthem being sung
President Barack Obama graced Diwali at Balboa Park with his presence, even though it was just on screen. He wished us a Happy Diwali! This was ever so nice, just to see President Obama in Balboa Park!
I really love going to the Festival Of Lights, as I enjoy seeing the performances, seeing Balboa Park again, seeing the stage graced by beautiful dances in clothes that sparkle, and then of course the lights tinkle! I also enjoy eating the Indian food that is available from many of the vendors who participate in Festival Of Lights. This year I got samosas, chicken saag and rice, and gulab jamun – that was two trays of food for me and Chandra, which included passion fruit juice for her and a nice cup of Pumpkin Spice Chai that cost just $9. You can’t beat that price!
I hope you enjoyed my pictures of the Festival Of Lights, and I hope you all have a truly beautiful Diwali. May light conquer over darkness, may good prevail over evil, and may we all experience peace, joy and prosperity on Diwali, and in the year ahead. Happy Diwali!
Time’s already flying by, and it’s February now, but I still haven’t shared December Nights, 2015 with you. Must hurry up, or it will be December again. Just my luck! I don’t want time to go that quickly. There’s no rush…..I will get too old too quickly like this – slow down time!
December Nights at Balboa Park in San Diego is always a fun event. It’s a two day extravaganza, and my family really enjoys it. This year we had to go without Niki, my oldest – since she has started college, and moved away. Still, it’s a fun event for kids of all ages, and adults alike, and I think I might love it even more than my kids do!
This year, we went early. Even though the even starts at 12 noon or so, most people don’t go until 5pm, as they like to be there in the evening when all the lights are on, as well as the Christmas tree at the Organ Pavilion. However, traffic is crazy and hectic, and so is parking. A few times now, we have parked at Petco Park, and then taken a shuttle bus from there to Balboa Park, but this time I wanted to park at the Zoo, and combine December Nights with a trip to the Zoo. So, we got to the Zoo at around 1:45 pm, and were easily able to find a parking spot. We spent about one and a half hours there.
We then took the short walk to Balboa Park – an easy 5 or 10 minute walk.
We first saw the Fountain area, close to one of the museums, and had a little snack, then walked past the Botanical Gardens area where the beautiful flowers, and Reflective Pond is; then we went to the Grinch tree, which is by the Old Globe Theatre, and actually spotted the Grinch!
We then went to see some of the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and since Chandra wanted to eat, we went towards the International Cottages area. When I heard Indian music, that beckoned me, and I was so glad I had allowed myself to be beckoned like that – because that became the highlight of my entire evening. I normally enjoy the Organ Pavilion area, and the Christmas songs so much, and enjoyed them again this year, but this time I allowed myself to actually wander away from the performances at the Organ Pavilion to experience more of what was taking place at the International Cottages area, and these are two competing performance areas – one on the big stage, and the other on a smaller stage, but equally powerful in performance. While one concentrates on performances that are mainly musical, and showcases instruments being played, and singers performing – the smaller stage at the International Cottages focuses on dance. The dance aspect is really entertaining, as you still have the music and the songs, but now have further entertainment too. I absolutely loved it, and my little Chandra got up to dance on the stage for the Grand Finale of the Indian dancing!
Here are two videos that I made – one shows the Grand Finale that Chandra was in,
and the other one shows a variety of performances, and dances that were performed. This includes the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and the Scottish Bagpipe Band, as well as the San Diego Chorus, and of course, the Indian dance performances which took place at the International Cottages.
I love December Nights, there is nothing quite like it!
The Indian Independence Day anniversary this year on August 15th, was the 69th one since India got it’s independence from the British. I had a day off from work on Friday, 14th August, and already showed you Day 1, which we spent mostly in Artesia – LA’s Little India. I love visiting Artesia. Here at home in San Diego, we also have a Little India in the Black Mountain Road area of Mira Mesa, but I do enjoy going to Artesia from time to time.
Day 2 of our little mini-vacation started off at Knotts Soak City, which I already showed you in another post, and now I will show you more pictures of the actual Indian Independence Day Celebration in Artesia (part of Los Angeles).
These pictures were taken towards the end of the evening, and show Bollywood star Raveena Tandon on the stage. The first picture shows when she was lighting a lamp as part of the day’s celebrations.
This picture shows the lighting of the lamp a little bit more clearly
This picture just shows Raveena looking very elegant, and beautiful on this great day.
My daughter Niki and I got to the event at around 5:45 pm, and we thought we were late. We were relieved when we found out that it hadn’t started yet, so we walked around. Here is Niki enjoying having the day off from dancing and being able to watch her friends peform instead.
We walked around and looked at all the wonderful food, I really should have taken more pictures of the other food stations – there were so many. This picture shows Pani Puri. I remember we used to have these back in England, and called them Gol Gappa, not sure if I am spelling that properly. They would puff up a lot sometimes while they were fried, and when they came out of the fryer, we would delight in poking a hole in them, and would pour tamarind sauce in to the hole in the center, and oh my gosh, that was one of the tastiest treats ever! They don’t make them here, like my Grandma made them back in England. We used to eat them right after she fried them, and they were so yummy! I think Pani Puri are just the same as Gol Gappa, but I do have to question it as they don’t taste as good as my Grandma’s Gol Gappa! I think Gol Gappa might be the Punjabi word for Pani Puri.
Oh, I have one more picture of another of the food stations
I had a sample of some great chai! Oh, how I love chai! This one was just the way I like it – piping hot and made with chai masala. I ended up buying some mixes as when I am home, I just make tea the English way by brewing it in a cup, and can’t be bothered going the extra step and making Indian tea (chai) properly. However, when I go out to Indian restaurants, I love to drink chai – I want my proper Indian tea then!
After we wandered around for a bit, it was time to see some performances. It started off with this little boy dancing. Oh, he was so cute. You can see him and the others who performed in the video, directly below his picture (excuse the hand that got in the way).
Please do watch my video of the Performances, this was the main event of the celebration, and of course, the star of the event was Raveena Tandon.
Then there were more performances, here is an assortment of pictures:
Did you know there was a Congressman in attendance? Yes, there was. Congressman Ed Royce (R) serves the 39th Congressional District in Orange County and eastern Los Angeles. I made a video of him too, but did not add it to the Performances video!
Some more pictures of the performances
Then, guess what another great thing happened at this event, they had a great sale and all clothes were only $1 each. Yes, you read it right – just $1 each. I bought seven items and it was so worth it.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures, and the video of the Performances. In case you haven’t yet seen the video that I made of when Raveena Tandon was made upset, here it is: