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Kerala all decked up for 111-Day-Long 40th ‘Soorya’ Festival

The celebration will begin with the ‘Ganesham’, mega show as the opening ceremony on Wednesday at the famous Tagore theatre

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Representational Image. Wikimedia
  • 40th ‘Soorya’ festival begins its 111 day long journey on Thiruvananthapuram on September 21
  • 2000 national and international artists will perform in the festival
  • Yesudas, Manju Warrior, films by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, and country’s biggest Bible show are some of the major attractions on this year’s schedule

Sept 21, 2016: Kerala is all set for the 40th edition of the cultural and art celebration in Thiruvananthapuram. The traditional cultural fiesta is the annual ‘Soorya’ Festival that is celebrated for 111 days at a stretch.

The celebration will begin with the ‘Ganesham’, mega show as the opening ceremony on Wednesday at the famous Tagore theatre. The festival will conclude with country’s biggest ever Bible show, ‘My Savior’, on January 11.

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On Monday, September 19, in a news conference- Soorya Krishnamurthy, the director of the film society and Soorya stage as well as the organiser of the grand event has stated that over 2000 artists from around the globe and from inside the country are about to participate in the grand fest.

Soorya Festival Organizer
Soorya Krishnamurthy, Director of the Soorya Stage and Film Society. Wikipedia

Major Attractions

The festival has multiple major attractions for the audience this year. Legendary Carnatic vocal singer K J Yesudas will be performing as he has been in all the previous editions of the festival. There will be also dancing performances of Nityashree Mahadevan, Shobhana and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy (Bharatnatyam), Sharmila Mukherjee (Odissi dance), Manju Warrior (Kuchipudi).

Programs

The theatre fest begins on October 11. The painting exhibition where various artists from around the world will take part in will commence from 11th to 17th November. The ‘Female Strokes’ is to showcase the works done by women artists. Ghazals and Hindustani music will be performed in the program ‘Jalsa Ghar’ from 21st to 31st October. Another grand attraction of the festival this year is the French ballet ‘Mithuna’, to be performed by Annett Leday.

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The film festival holds the major interest of the people. Supported by the directorate of the Film Festivals in New Delhi, the fest will see the screening of specially chosen classical movies by the eminent film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan in the ‘Meet the Masters’ program. The fest will also view regional films that include- Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi movies.

‘Soorya’, headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram, is a non-profit voluntary organisation that is absolutely non-commercial and the 40th edition of the annual celebration of the ‘Soorya’ Festival is about to be even more glamorous and more eventful!

– prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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A Devotee from Agra donates 2 kg Gold Sandals to Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

For the celebrations of Guru Purnima, Sandhya Gupta has donates 2 kg gold sandals to the Shirdi Saibaba Temple

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2 kg gold sandals
Saibaba. Wikimedia
  • Sandhya Gupta, from Agra, has donates 2 kg gold sandals to Shirdi’s Saibaba temple
  • Her donation has been installed in Dwarkamai Temple
  • The donation was given by Sandhya Gupta to mark the occassion of ‘Guru Purnima’

July 12, 2017: The Shri Saibaba Sanathan Trust (SSST) in Shirdi has received 2 kg gold sandals as donation by Sandhya Gupta, a devotee from Agra. The donation comes as part of the celebrations for the occassion of Guru Purnima. The value of the 2 kg gold is worth Rs. 60 lakh.

Sachin Tambe, the trustee of SSST told PTI, “The gold sandals donated by Gupta have been ceremoniously installed in Dwarkamai temple”.

Sandhya Gupta stated to the media ““Today, I am very happy as the ‘padukas’ donated by me were accepted as ‘guru dakshina’.”

ALSO READ: Kanwar Yatra 2017: Here’s Why it is so Popular with Devotees of Lord Shiva!

Thousands of people from different parts of India gather in Shirdi for the celebrations of 3 day long Guru Purnima.

According to the Economic Times report, the temple had received Rs 9.84 crores in just 9 days in 2017.

Guru Purnima exclusive to India. The Guru is celebrated as also a spiritual guide.

prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393


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Indian Lawmaker Seeks to Trim Big Fat Indian Weddings as it is becoming Social statement for most Indian Families

In a country that holds some 10 million marriages a year, India’s booming wedding industry is estimated to be worth about $35 billion and racing ahead at 30 percent a year

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Brides arrive beneath a canopy of flowers for the wedding ceremony. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

With weddings becoming the biggest social statement for most Indian families, a bill that proposes to target the usually ostentatious celebrations has stirred a lively debate – can Indians be persuaded to cut down on the size and scale of marriages?

The big, fat Indian wedding is no longer restricted to the rich. As a booming economy has put more money into the hands of the middle class, they too are staging extravagant, multi-day celebrations at five-star hotels and farmhouses.

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A member of parliament from Bihar, Ranjeet Ranjan, is introducing a new bill in parliament called the Marriages (Compulsory Registration and Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure) Bill 2016, which proposes that those who spend more than $ 7,500 on their wedding should donate 10 percent of the money to a government fund, which wold be used to fund marriages of poor girls. It also seeks to put a cap on the number of guests and dishes served at wedding functions.

Indians spend thousands of dollars on decor to transform banquet halls in five star hotels and farmhouses for marriage functions.

Indians spend thousands of dollars on decor to transform banquet halls in five star hotels and farmhouses for marriage functions.

Ranjan told VOA her aim is to remove the intense social pressure the middle class and others face to host elaborate celebrations. “This has become a status symbol. People sell land, take loans to host their daughter’s weddings,” she lamented. “Parents set aside a fat budget for their children’s wedding, particularly girls weddings.”

Estimates show that many Indian parents fork out one fifth of the wealth they have accumulated on hosting a wedding. While budgets vary widely, many middle class families shell out $50,000 to $100,000 for their children’s nuptials.

In a country that holds some 10 million marriages a year, India’s booming wedding industry is estimated to be worth about $35 billion and racing ahead at 30 percent a year. It is often described as a recession-proof industry, untouched by financial downturns or economic slowdowns.

At colorful Indian weddings, grooms arrive on horses and chariots amid dancing and beating of drums. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
At colorful Indian weddings, grooms arrive on horses and chariots amid dancing and beating of drums. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

New Delhi resident and finance professional Pradeep Bhargava, who has hosted his daughters’ and sons’ marriages in recent years, feels wedding spending has gone a step too far. “We are going 100 percent overboard, trying to show off, trying to be one up,” he says.

Many of these parents recall that their own weddings some three decades ago were relatively simple affairs where family and friends sang wedding songs at home and cooks prepared traditional delicacies.

But that’s history. Now as an aspirational middle class joins the race to put up a grand show, elaborate ceremonies spread over two to five days have become the norm — from putting henna on the bride to choreographed dance shows, grooms arriving on chariots and elephants and exotic wedding feasts with several types of food available. Event managers and wedding planners are no longer just the purview of the rich.

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The spending on décor alone can run into the thousands of dollars said Pooja Gupta from New Delhi based Elusive Dreams, which specializes in adding glitz and glamour to wedding venues. “They want new themes that come out every season, and they really want to transform the face of the venue, and they are willing to spend whatever, unlimited. They want to outdo each other at the wedding,” she said.

Many people vehemently oppose any effort to impose a tax on wedding expenses and say any effort to trim lavish Indian weddings has to be led by society itself.

Sanjoy Pasricha, who is in the midst of hectic preparations for his daughter’s wedding to be held next month, has opted for a destination wedding in the beach resort of Goa. He points out that a marriage is a major event for an Indian family. Strongly opposing any government role in regulating wedding expenses he said, “It’s my decision how much I want to spend. It’s as good as saying that you will have to stop wearing suits and only wear trousers, or you should not wear silk saris, but only cotton saris.”

Putting henna on brides and guests is one of the elaborate ceremonies at Indian weddings. (A. Pasricha/VOA)
Putting henna on brides and guests is one of the elaborate ceremonies at Indian weddings. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

Putting henna on brides and guests is one of the elaborate ceremonies at Indian weddings. (A. Pasricha/VOA)

However, lawmaker Ranjeet Ranjan said many people would welcome an escape from the extravagant spending that weddings now involve. “The response I am getting is that a lot of people who spend due to pressure from society will be happy to get the shelter of the law,” according to Ranjan.

The lawmaker, who is from the opposition Congress Party, said she has found strong support for her bill, which could be taken up in the next session of parliament starting in March. Although new legislation typically takes years as it winds through the two houses of parliament in India, she is confident it could pass if the government supports it.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not yet taken a position on the proposal.(VOA)

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As 2016 is coming to an end, Here is what Bollywood Stars are planning to do on New Year’s Eve!

Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan are planning to ring in the New Year with their family members

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(Representational Image)Bollywood Stars and their new Year Plans,pixabay

Mumbai, Dec 28, 2016: As 2016 is coming to an end and people are gearing to welcome 2017, popular Bollywood celebrities like Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan are planning to ring in the New Year with their family members.

Here’s what some of the celebrities are planning:

Aamir Khan: The actor, who is basking in the appreciation coming his way for “Dangal”, will travel to Panchgani with his family to bring in his wedding anniversary and the New Year. He married Kiran Rao on December 28, 2005.

Sanjay Dutt: Bollywood’s ‘Sanju baba’, who stepped out of Pune’s Yerwada Central Jail as a free man, earlier this year, will travel out of India to celebrate the New Year with his wife, Manyata and their children.

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Saif Ali Khan: The actor, who was recently blessed with a baby boy, will be at home with his newborn along with wife Kareena Kapoor Khan.

Jacqueline Fernandez: The Sri Lankan beauty will celebrate the New Year with her family in Colombo.

Radhika Apte: She is currently in London, and will bring in the New Year with her musician husband Benedict Taylor.

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Yami Gautam: The actress, who hails from Chandigarh, will be busy shooting for films.

Honey Singh: The rapper, who is coping with bipolar disorder, is planning to work on new music and will celebrate the New Year with his family and friends.

Prabhas: The “Baahubali” actor will probably be working his way into the New Year as he is busy shooting for “Baahubali: The Conclusion”. (IANS)