Festival of India-Lagos

Festival of India-Lagos

The festival is a collaboration between International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the India Disapora in Lagos sponsored by Gaurapad Charities, MTN, Zee World, and is designed to bridge the cultural gap between India and Nigeria. It will showcase the crème de la crème of Bollywood and Nollywood.

This Festival of India­Lagos begins with the Chariots parade, from CMS accompanied by Indian and Nigerian cultural troupes to arrive at Tafawa Balewa Square,Lagos where there will be an international fair, Indo-Nigerian cultural exhibitions and stage performances.

The Festival of India, with the Ratha Yatra (chariot) Festival as its central spectacle, has an inestimable impact on the minds and hearts of literally countless casual visitors and active participants in major cities worldwide. The Ratha Yatra (chariot) Festival originated in the holy city of Puri, India, and has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is a grand culmination of a series of celebrations spread over the summer and the monsoon month and is the most splendid of them all.

It started with the parade which was a total showstopper, as three gigantic hand pulled chariots from the ancient city of Orissa towered high into the Lagos skyline. Only a cluster of birds flew higher. But wait, these were not birds at all; they were drones -cameras in the skyes! After all this was the only way the event could have been filmed. The parade was a human sea stretching as far as the eye could see.

Igbokiti from Western Nigeria slugged it out with the Kerala Samaj – an ethnic group from Southern India. While the Durbar Horsemen raced with their Punjabi counterparts from Northern India – heavily bearded, Powerbiking, turbaned and screaming Punjabis who added spice to the blend! It was entertainment at its highest level, and if improved on the showstopper could be Nigeria’s premier international tourist attraction. The Igbokiti cultural group won 1st prize in the Parade category, while the Oriya Samaj won 1st prize in the Chariot Design category.

The Lagos Ministry of Commerce also accompanied 15 SMEs to the venue, to help showcase their works in the international arena. Sponsors like MTN, Godrej and Zworld were bustling with activity. The food court occupied a section of the grounds and you could buy anything from Biryani, capatis, assorted masalas, you name it.

As people moved along the stalls they encountered the much-advertised fashion and jewelry section. All the Bollywood sarees, Punjabi suits, trinkets and others were all available at affordable prices. All the stalls of the Festival of India were beautifully decorated and the prize of best stall went to the Rajasthani Samaj.

Festival of India-Lagos

Finally, came the final leg of the festival , the concert. The performances began with colourful children from the various Indian Samajas and cultural shows from all over India. Up-and-coming acts like Aditi (Nigeria) and Pandey (India) performed. Pandey surprised and thrilled the Nigerian audience with his rendition of Emergency from Dbanj and other Nigerian songs in Nigerian languages.

Top Bollywood star, Yuvika and Anup Jalota, as well as Nigeria’s Sammy Okposo, Tee Mac and his Gold Convention, Ara and Pasuma were in a class of their own. Nollywood personalities such as Desmond Elliot, Tina Mba and Saheed Balogun to name but a few, spent precious moments sharing thoughts with their Bollywood counterparts in the special Artists’ green room.