LIVINGSTON, NJ — Sanskriti of New Jersey recently celebrated Dakshin Mahotsav, which translates as “Grand Festivals of South India” and showcases the cultural diversity of Southern India, at a ceremony held at the Livingston Senior and Community Center.  The annual event, sponsored by New York Life agent Harleen Manko has gradually increased in popularity, as nearly 200 people from Livingston and surrounding communities attended this year.

“India is probably one of most diverse countries in the world," said Vinita Gangadharan, board member of the Sanskriti school. "The southern Indian states are probably not much larger than Texas and New Mexico put together, but have distinct culture, language, traditions and festivals. Dakshin Mahotsav, showcases this rich diversity to the community and youngsters growing up here."

Led by Archana Gollamudi from Sanskriti and several other volunteers such as Vidya Guttimukkala, Saritha Makarla, Shilpa Bekal, Srini Salandra, Vinita Gangadharan, Lavanya Chintalapati and more, the event also coincided with a New Year festival celebrated in some states called “Ugadi.”

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Satyanarayana Murthy, a retired Indian Air Force officer, kicked off the event by explaining the origins of different New Year traditions in India. The program was a colorful mix of southern classical dance and music performances with more contemporary items from the southern Indian film industry.

The show culminated with a fashion show that presented signature looks of famous actresses in Indian cinema, the models were received with thunderous applause from the audience. The entertainment was followed by a South Indian vegetarian dinner.