Celebrating The Spirit Of South Asia: Home Away From Home


The three things you think when one mentions India or South Asia. Samosa, Taj Mahal and Bollywood. Not necessarily in any given order, but these were the favorites that once again stole the show at  the Festival of South Asia, held at Gerrard Bazaar, Toronto.  Held on  July 16th and 17th, most of Torontonians and visitors from across the globe once again went to their favorite Indian street. Apart from their usual favorite spots of restaurants and clothing stores, this weekend the street was decked with performers, kiosks and fun things to do and experience.


In Pic: Bollywood singer Ali Quli Mirza with Festival Producer/Director Tushar Unadkat marching the parade.

There was a mix of tradition with contemporary, music from across the globe, yoga and dance, food and more food. To name a few the Tabla performances from the Toronto Tabula Ensemble showcased the Indian diaspora’s passion in retaining their culture and tradition by practicing traditional Indian music.


pic3 One could not miss the fabulous performance by  Passion for Arabic Dance (passionforbellydance.com)  . A Arabic dance form, dancers from across the Greater Toronto area matching perfect steps to Bollywood beats. If one could ever speak of cultural assimilation, this one show does top the list. The grace and the finesse of these dancers just proves to say one thing, if you believe in your art, your audience will love it.


 Not to miss were the rambling food carts all across the street. From chat to butta (corn over charcol), samosas to bread pakora, dosas to momos, kebabs and tikka, chai, lassi and sugar cane juice, it was a feast of the Maharajas.



The photo kiosk, where one could pose against a giant vinyl of Taj Mahal, brings each Torontonian closer to their favorite travel destination. pic4

There were fun games for kids, a old rickshaw and an auto-rickshaw where one could get the feel of a traditional South Asian commute and colorful clothing stores with bangles and drapes. The event was surely a kind of party filled with fine music, great food and great fun, something you would never want to end. But till it happens again at Diwali, when Gerrard Bazaar is lit up with lights of  festivity, it’s a Happy Summer for all of us here. 



Article by : Samuel Yerraguntla

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