Ram Navami Celebrations – 2023 by the Konkani community in Sydney

By: Kamakshi Shenoy.

The first day of the Hindu lunar year is celebrated as the festival of Samsaar Padvo by the Konkani community. This festival, also known as Yugadi or Gudi Padwa, is celebrated with great pomp and fervour in most Konkani households. Keeping the tradition alive, Konkani families in and around Sydney got together as one big kutumbh (family) to celebrate Samsaar Padvo and Ram Navmi on Sunday, the 26th of March.

This collective of amchigele (Konkani) families, fondly called ‘Amhi EK Kutumbh’ (AEK) was formed to ensure key festivals and events are celebrated following the same customs and traditions as most of us have grown up experiencing in India. It is a humble attempt to make the same experiences available to the next generation hoping to keep our culture and traditions alive in their young minds. 


This year, the event was organized at the Swami Yoga Retreat in Kenthurst. This beautiful and serene venue surrounded by bushland was the perfect location to celebrate our festival in the lap of our beautiful nature. 300-plus people attended the event, all dressed in colorful traditional sarees, mundo (dhoti) or salwar kurtas. The outdoor seating was organized for everyone to watch the ceremonies. All attendees were invited to offer Abhishek (holy bath) to Lord Rama before the deity was established on the sacred altar beautifully decorated by karsevaks (volunteers). Bhajan seva and ram naam chanting by some talented community members made the whole atmosphere divine. After the traditional aarti and naivedya (food offerings), all attendees were invited to enjoy the scrumptious Konkani lunch. 

Our food has always been the biggest highlight of our celebrations, making the AEK Samsaar Padvo function extra memorable. The traditional Konkani lunch on a banana leaf excites every true blue amchigele. Traditional Konkani dishes like khotto, gashi, batetya vaagu, tendli bibya upkari and ten other items were prepared by our volunteers. No outside caterers or professional cooks were engaged, and all preparations and cooking were completed on-site by both men and women volunteers. Over 50 volunteers joined forces to shop for cooking supplies and groceries, source banana and jackfruit leaves, arrange utensils, prep, cook and clean. This is no easy feat, and hats off to our selfless volunteers who have been tirelessly preparing for the days leading up to the event. The enthusiasm amongst the volunteers was so infectious that other community members also stepped in to lend a hand. It was great to witness the community spirit and oneness on display.

So how do so many people come together with a single objective? How does a whole community get motivated to achieve the unthinkable? It needs excellent leadership, determination and a strong sense of community service. AEK is the brainchild of Kamakshi Shenoy and Hemant Nayak Benne, two individuals deeply rooted in the Konkani culture and tradition and have created opportunities to keep us engaged as a community by organizing various celebrations. They are a great combination representing the Northern and Southern regions of India’s Konkan (west) coast, ensuring the festivities are relatable to all amchigeles irrespective of their origins. With active participation and support from their respective partners, Kamakshi and Hemant steer the community forward as they recreate the cultural experience of our Indian festivals here in Australia. I’m sure the whole community is grateful to them for their vision, dedication and tenacity.


The broader Indian community in Australia also supported the event. Over 20 local businesses supported the event in various ways. Delicious breakfast (Swagath Restaurant), Indian sweets (Sweet Utsav) and idli batter (Madura foods) were provided by the renowned business, ensuring that the santharpana meal and phalahra were complete for the day-long celebration. Sunrice, Hari om Foods, Sharma’s Kitchen, Chatkazz, Shri Dhaba, GuruMantra, Sydney Sports club, PAIradise and E-Gurukul were some other businesses I could recall. Stalls were set up to support small household businesses, and all attendees had a great time browsing and shopping for Indian goodies.

Konkani are known for their celebrations. We have a strong sense of community; we uphold our customs and traditions and are keen to continue our age old traditions well into the future. Our car festivals (Teru) and the Ganeshotsav celebrations of Mumbai are a testament to that. Occasions like this strengthen our bond, giving us a true sense of belonging to one huge kutumbh. Having been in Australia for 20-odd years, I genuinely welcome being part of this extended family and look forward to many more such events.

Article written by :Smt Preeti Sunil Rao.

Amhi Ek Kutumbh was formed in Jan 2022 with an aim to elevate the Konkani community and upcoming generations with knowledge of Konkani language, traditions, and culture. As families migrate to other parts of the world, English is adopted as the first language to communicate. Eventually, the mother tongue or original language, Konkani, is overlooked.

 Similar is the case with our traditions and culture. Our only aim is to gather all aspects of the Konkani language, tradition, and culture to promote, educate and preserve for future generations of Konkani origin.


Objective: Our core vision is to establish and administer a nonprofit organization for community welfare with the foundation of our Konkani language, tradition, and culture. Supported by the four pillars, such as creating an atmosphere for our community members to come together and celebrate our festivals, strengthening the bond we call Amchitana and passing on the legacy to our future gems, Encouraging organic and healthy food habits originated by our ancestors, educating and responsibly celebrating with nature-friendly approaches, and Supporting small businesses.


Benefits: Safeguarding Intangible Language and Cultural Heritage. Konkani language, culture and traditional heritage will be passed on to upcoming generations and enhance awareness in future about our originality and unique identity.

 Amhi Ek Kutumbh Conveners, Smt Kamakshi Shenoy & Shri Hemant Nayak Benne

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