Saturday, Jul 23, 2016
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Fest features sights, sounds, and flavors of India's culture

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The 16th Annual Festival of India will run from 6 to 11 p.m. tomorrow, 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Hindu Temple of Toledo, 4336 King Rd., Sylvania. Admission is free. Information: 419-843-4440.

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The 16th annual Festival of India is being called Utsav, the Sanskrit word for celebration, as members of the Hindu Temple of Toledo share their culture and achievements with the community this weekend.

Among the highlights at this year's festival will be a jugalbandhi concert featuring a duet with sitar and tabla.

"It is two experts on their given instruments complementing each other or performing in tandem," said Saumin Mehta, festival co-chairman.

Playing the sitar, the long-necked string instrument, will be Anuppama Bhagwat of Dayton, and on tabla, or hand drums, will be Ustad Shabir Nasir from Hyderabad, India.

"When the musicians are in a good mood, it is really fun to see and hear jugalbandhi," said Pandit Anant Dixit, spiritual leader of the Hindu Temple.

Mehta said festival organizers made an effort to offer a broad sampling of culture from India, including food, dance, costumes, music, and art.

Tomorrow evening, an estimated 150 children will dress in colorful costumes representing an Indian tradition that is similar in some ways to Halloween, although the origins of the holiday are quite different, Mehta said.

"The costumes represent some connection to Indian history and the children often dress as historical characters," Mehta said, with the children usually doing a bit of research to learn about the characters they represent.

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival events will include a carnival for children, with an area set up with inflatable games, henna painting, and more.

Many vendors will be selling the seasoned vegetarian foods and snacks of India, as well as regional clothing and jewelry.

Tours of the Hindu Temple will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Pandit Dixit said, and a number of pujas, or religious rituals, will be held throughout the weekend.

Parking will be available at Tam O'Shanter on Sylvania Avenue with shuttle buses to the Hindu Temple.

The 16th Annual Festival of India will run from 6 to 11 p.m. tomorrow, 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Hindu Temple of Toledo, 4336 King Rd., Sylvania. Admission is free. Information: 419-843-4440.

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