The Krishna Temple is well known for the annual Holi Festival of Colors during the spring, but many people are unaware that they host many events throughout the year to celebrate the culture and beauty of India. One such event, India Fest, took place September 24, 2016 south of UVU, Spanish Fork, Utah at the Radha Krishna Temple. This year marks the 29th annual Festival of India, where the celebration highlights some of entertainment, food, and music from India. Vegetarian food from Govinda’s Buffet, located inside the Lotus Temple, was the perfect way to begin the evening.
There is the opportunity to become immersed in many different cultures and experience the various festivals that highlight these different cultures. After filling up on vegetable curry, basmati rice, and traditional naan, which is an oven-baked flatbread, it was time to head outside to the grass and be led in yoga by the yogi Jai Krishna Das. Yoga in the evening was a perfect way to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually balance in preparation to be open to understanding new traditions. After yoga, Malini L. Taneja, who is a bharatnatyam, an Indian folk dancer, performed a beautiful improvisational dance in traditional Indian clothing of vibrant pinks and purples.
Next, the Nadam Kathak Dance Troupe performed a classical style of dance on the main stage. The dance troupe came to visit Utah specifically for this festival, all the way from Bangalore, India, where they regularly perform the traditional dance style of Kathak. As a group, they work together to dance in sync to traditional Indian music filled with chanting, sitars, which is a complex stringed instrument that rests on the lap, and tablas hand played drums. The Nadam emphasize expressive hand movements in order to tell a story filled with emotion.
For the final event, a group of actors recreated the epic story of the Ramayana. This story centers around the hero, Rama and his wife, Sita. There is an evil demon named Ravana, who kidnaps Sita because of her beauty, and Rama has to win back Sita by defeating Ravana. During the event at the Lotus Temple, Rama shoots flaming arrows at Ravana to take him down, and the story ends with a spectacular display of fireworks. Although traveling can be expensive and difficult for most, a trip to Spanish Fork to immerse oneself in Indian culture only cost $3, but was well worth the adventure and excitement that 4 hours in Utah’s own piece of India brought.