NT Parliament celebrates Diwali

By : Shashi Khanna.

Northern Territory government celebrated the Indian festival of lights ,Diwali at Darwin, Parliament house. The beautiful huge structure of Parliament stands besides the water front. Amazing sunset adorned this festivity further at the lush green lawns of the Parliament. 
 
Extremely warm and whole heartedly welcome awaited the Indian community at the hall. All dressed up in their best of attires , Indian colourful dresses and sarees, chirpy girls swaying in their flowing dresses and men in their kurta pajama or semiformals, proudly represented India in this far away land of Australia. 
Minister for multicultural affairs along with her council lighted the lamp with Hindu society President . Well organised and beautifully synchronised dance performances by Indian community children mesmerized all . Saraswati Vandana , Rajasthan folk dance and much applauded performances brightened the atmosphere further. Heart felt speeches by the minister of Council showing the warmth and welcome of the Indian community in the society was motivating. The contributions of Indian towards the state, culture and society is appreciable. 
Every one wanted to have the best of the clicks as the cherished memories . High tea with Indian snacks and drinks added an Indian aroma to the atmosphere. 
 
A well organised evening of festivity and celebration concluded with Indian diaspora meeting each other and the members of the council in a very informal atmosphere of love, harmony and happiness which is the message of Diwali , spreading love light and happiness all over. 
 
Again ,on my personal note it seemed like a dream for me. I had to convince myself that I’m attending Diwali celebration by a state government in Continent of Australia. It was a wow moment for me. Of course, the efforts and hard work of my brothers and sisters who are settled here and contributing towards the society and country. Their efforts to spread the rich Indian culture is worth recognition and appreciation. It was pride to see many second generation Indians well absorbed in the government protocol. 
 
I felt like my purpose of visiting Australia during DIWALI Times is well served. Again congratulations and salute to the wonderful , amazing,  diligent Indian diaspora in Australia. Well done , kudoos guys !! Pride India Proud Indian!!

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Indian cultural society celebrates Dandia at Darwin Australia

By : Shashi Khanna.

Indian culture celebrates life with seasons, festivals and many events celebrated all across Indian states. Dandia and Garbha the divine dance to worship during Navratri is special from western states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Women and men clad in bright coloured traditional attire dance to the rhythmic tunes of worship. 
 

Dandiya NT Australia

 
Indian cultural society has been known to celebrate all festivals with great devotion and zeal. October 20,2018 ,Dandia night was organised at Harmony Hall ,Malak in Darwin. The vibrant event saw group of people from all religions and all faiths gathered to participate in dandia. Women clad in bright flowing dresses banged the divine atmosphere with dandia sticks, dancing on high beats of Indian music in circle. Dandiya form of dance uses sticks during the dance while Garbha has use of clapping hands while swaying the bodies in circular movements. 
 
 
It was wonderful to see people of age groups dancing in excitement. Aged and children all were equal participants with young people in dance. Beautifully decorated hall with flowers and bright glittering decorations added to the holy spirit of Dandiya. 
 
The mixed group of Punjabis, Gujaratis , south Indian and Fiji Indian gave a beautiful charm to the evening. A sumptuous elaborate dinner awaited all. After the zeal full dance dinner was enjoyed by all participants.
 
 
Team of Indian cultural society deserves congratulations and an applause for their beautifully organised event of Dandiya night which gathered all the Indian community together. 
It was indeed a beautiful display of love harmony and acceptance of all cultures, religions and faiths in the celestial natural background of Darwin at Northern Territory which has embraced all on this beautiful land of beaches and water fronts in Australia. 
 
 
I’m still awestruck by the feeling of unity and compassion in such vast diversities of language,culture,colour, lifestyle and faiths. My belief that God supreme is one but to reach him through various paths has found further strong deposition in my heart and mind.

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Diwali celebrated in Perth by Hindu Council of Australia

A Diwali celebration was held on 19th October 2018 at Edith Covent University in Perth. The program started by a speech by Bhakti Koriya on the significance of Deepavali. A work shop for making Rangoli was held by Nutan, Damji, Shubhada and Bhakti.

This was followed by a dance by the group. Many passer byes joined the dance and made it a fun event.

 

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Durga Puja celebrated in Darwin Australia

By: Shashi Khanna.

MA DURGA’S BLESSINGS AT DARWIN,NT

Cultural Harmony at Harmony Hall , Darwin! 

October 13,2018 another cultural and religious initiative by the Indian community at Darwin. The occasion was the Durga Puja, first time celebrated at this magnanimous scale. The Puja & Durga society of Northern Territory was the organising body but a beautiful amalgam of all cultures and regions was witnessed at this beautifully managed event .
 Goddess Durga in her various incarnations of mother ,’Ma’ as affectionately called in Indian culture adorned a huge stage. The colourful , bright radiant stage with beautiful Rangoli ( the welcome symbols made as floor decorations with bright colours and flowers) welcomed all to a packed hall. Kum Kum and artistic paint work done on every lady who entered the hall clad in colours of red. Red colour in Indian attire being the dress code, one could see blooming ladies, chirpy girls swaying in bright Indian dresses. 
 

Darwin, NT, Australia 2018

 
Red being the Colour of holiness, vibrance,jubilation and prosperity in Indian mythology is worn usually by married women who are considered to be the symbol of all prosperity ( Goddess of Lakshmi). 
 
Durga Puja ,the 9 days of celebration of ‘Navratri ‘ is observed twice in a year .One in spring and this one in autumn, welcoming two seasons winters and summers. ‘Nau’ means nine in Hindi is celebrated for nine days .  The eighth day observed as ‘Ashtami’ when young girls are worshipped, celebrating the birth of a girl. To respect and regard the womenfolk of our families and society, giving them equality and honouring them for their mother hood.  Durga Puja celebrated in various parts of India has different rituals but eminently celebrated in Bengal, Gujarat and North India. 
 
Navratri also observed as fasting days for detoxification for our system, special kind of foods are eaten during these fasting days which ends on ‘Ashtami’ Pujan ,the eight day. Then ninth day as Ram navmi’ and tenth day as ‘ Dusshera’ when Lord Rama killed Ravana, as the mythological story says. 
 
Durga Puja is also celebrated as victory of good over evil. It’s not only the physical evil but the evils ,the devil inside us all, to win over the personality flaws of greed, lust,anger, ego and disillusion. To monitor and control ourselves for our righteousness and for a healthy society filled with respect, love, compassion and harmony amongst all. 
 
The event at Harmony Hall had divine aura of Ma blessing all devotees from various cultures and backgrounds. It seemed like Mini India gathered here. Women from Haryana, Uttrakhand in the north to Chennai and Bangalore in the south, from Rajasthan in the west to Bengal and Assam in the east. Our neighbours from Bangladesh, beautifully dressed participated with zeal and enthusiasm. The luscious Bengla sweets further honeyed the atmosphere when Prasad was distributed with variety of Bengal sweets, all home made ( important to mention). 
 
Puja and Archana was recited by the priest with flowers offered to the Goddess Durga and surrender to Almighty. 108 lamps lighted at the feet of Ma Durga with fruits , flowers and sweets for bhog. Durga Stuti and Saraswati Vandana was melodiously sung by an aged woman which was appreciated by all. Beautiful flower wall had many selfie clicks and added a beautiful background. 
 
Beats of the Dhol and drums swayed all to dance in devotion. The sound of rhythmic clapping captured the atmosphere, seemed like to outreach to Goddess residing in every soul promising to celebrate the journey of life and human birth. 
A sumptuous meal followed which was relished by all concluding with yummy Bengali sweets special ‘ Rasgulla ,Sandesh and Khir. 
 
A lively cultural program followed which was meticulously crafted for the occasion. Every day Navratri Puja is being held at the Hindu temple in Malak area of Darwin, Northern Territory for these 9 days.
 
This whole  day of Durga Puja celebration overtook my soul and how much I thanked ‘Ma’ , my family and myself for being able to witness this grandeur celebration in this far far land of Australia. I couldn’t believe, to see the spirit of participation, hard efforts and planning to solemnize the worship of Ma Durga who is beyond any caste , religion,culture and boundaries of land or ocean. To conclude , I must acknowledge ,how proud and overwhelmed I was of my rich Indian cultural roots which has deep significance to the core of human existence and blending values in its uniqueness. 
 
Thankyou so much Hindu council for allowing me to put my intense emotions into words. I’m grateful to the Puja & Cultural society of NT for this memorable day which I’ll carry across the world through social media platforms. 

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Forty years of Hinduism in Darwin celebrated

By: Shashi Khanna. (Hindu Council of Australia correspondent in Darwin).
 
40 years!! A beautiful, blissful journey of noble contribution towards a cultural cause.  The Hindu society of NT , Darwin celebrated its 40 years history on September 29,2018 at Harmony Hall in Malak ,Darwin. A lovely ,well organised event was part of the celebration of  40 years of Self government in NT. A book launch about the history of Hinduism in Darwin was the highlight of the evening. President of the Hindu society of NT , Mr.Pratapan who authored the beautiful and informative book talked about the journey of Hindu community in his address to a fairly good crowd. Contributions of Indians with origin from all the states of India from New Delhi to Kerela , Tamilnadu and from Jodhpur in Rajasthan to Kolkata in West Bengal is worth mentioning and appreciable. Diverse range of Indian community contributing towards the growth of NT in varied fields of education, technology, healthcare, government services and many more was applauded by Madam Chief Minister of the state and many government officials who participated whole heartedly in the event. 
 
 
Dance performances further added a colourful charm to the evening. The program started with ritual lamp lighting by the honourable guests from present and former government too. Stage performances started with Saraswati Vandana in Bharat natayam form. A beautiful bollywood and semi classical performance on ‘Radha Krishna’ swayed all with its foot tapping and vibrant beats. A folk dance- Ghumar from Rajasthan followed, performed by a group who were from different states of India. All the volunteers and performers in their respective teams were honoured on the stage by the esteemed guests. 
 
Vote of thanks by the secretary of the Hindu society,Mr. Pradip was read. 
 
A wonderful evening concluded with dinner for all and lot of photo shots, capturing the event in unending memories. 
On a personal note , I had just landed to this foreign land from India on 28 September midnight. I was overwhelmed to see my brothers and sisters contributing towards Indian cultural heritage since past 40 years. A sense of pride overtook me when the madam Chief Minister appreciated the contributions of Indians in building NT. The harmony and feeling of love towards spreading Hindu culture by Indians is overwhelming. I extend my good wishes and regards to my community for creating a honourable place in foreign society and laying a comfortable runway for generations of present and future. 

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Darwin revels in music and Yoga for four days

B: Kalindi,ASMY
The popular kirtan band, Ashraya, were invited to Darwin to be part of the festivities to celebrate International Day of Yoga. Over 4 nights, they brought peace and joy to the Darwin yoga and Hindu communities through the power of kirtan. 
 
 
The first night (Thursday 21st June) of kirtan was at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets down on the beach as the sun sets. Hundreds of people listened and even participated in the kirtan! The kirtan was also livestreamed on Facebook and people from around the world joined in and commented how beautiful it was.
 
 
Friday night was hosted by a local vegan cafe, Kings Wholefoods Artisan, and approximately 100 attended Ashraya’s Mystic Journey, a soundscape of pranayama, mantra, mindfulness and kirtan. A delicious pure vegetarian meal was provided by our hosts followed by ecstatic dancing and chanting of the sacred mantras.
 
There were two events on Saturday. The first was Yoga Day Festival where Ashraya concluded the asana practice with heartwarming, peaceful kirtan. Participants were mesmerized and expressed how wonderful it was to end a yoga practice with such a beautiful meditation. Ashraya then played at the Yoga Day Festival after party where approximately 50 people attended. Ashraya started with a gentle guided meditation which then built into an ecstatic dance. Everyone was so happy with big smiles all around. 
 
One of the band members, Radha Krishna das gave a talk on breaking bad habits and how the yoga system can break these by completely satisfying us within. The band also led more beautiful kirtan with approx 100 people in attendance. A delicious dinner was provided by the event volunteers. 
 
Darwin! we look forward to Ashraya again in the future!

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Ashraya Band celebrates International Day of Yoga with concerts in Darwin

To celebrate International Day of Yoga, the kirtan band Ashraya will be joining the festivities in Darwin. On their second tour to the Top End, they bring their world grooves and mellow sounds with beautiful ancient mantras that soothe the soul’s inner-most needs. 

Weaving together the mantras with amazing music, Ashraya brings a unique and creative approach to kirtan – from heart-warming, mellow harmonium chants to upbeat kirtan dance grooves. They will be performing at a number of events:

24th June | Habit Breaker ~ Freedom Maker

 
Ashraya is a Sanskrit word meaning shelter. In the beautiful, heartwarming mantras sung in kirtan, we find our shelter from the storms of life. They have performed at a number of locations including the MindBodySpirit festival recently in Sydney and with Hindu Balinese community in the north east region of Bali. 
 
 
The band members are all long term practitioners of Bhakti Yoga in the Vaisnava tradition. Their passion is share the joy that kirtan and the deeper spiritual aspect of yoga bring to others regardless of their backgrounds. They have been inspired to share the yoga wisdom and teachings so that others may apply these in their own lives to optimise their whole well being. You can also catch Ashraya performing regularly on the Gold Coast at the Mantra Room in Burleigh Heads. 

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Congratulations – A new chapter started in Northern Territory

On 20th Mrach 2018, Hindu council has established a new chapter in Northern Territory.

Dr Rajeev Sharma – Coordinator

(other members in the team will be announced shortly).

Dr Rajeev Sharma is long time resident of Darwin. He is working at Charles Darwin University since 1989 and is currently Course Coordinator for MBA DBA Grad Cert Grad Dip courses. He is very active community worker. He was in past few times secretary of Hindu Society of NT (a member organisation of HCA). He was also earlier President of Indian Cultural Society.

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