India festival Lighting the way at Supreme Court Gardens

Chandrika Ravi, Vasantha Rajendran, Sarasa Krishnan and Mayuri Rathakrishnan prepare for the Swan Festival of Lights. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d445084
Chandrika Ravi, Vasantha Rajendran, Sarasa Krishnan and Mayuri Rathakrishnan prepare for the Swan Festival of Lights. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d445084

WA’S version of the biggest festival in India will return to Supreme Court Gardens from November 6 to 8.

Jointly hosted by the Temple of Fine Arts and not-for-profit restaurant Annalakshmi, the Swan Festival of Lights will celebrate the ancient festival Deepavali – the triumph of light over darkness.

Annalakshmi manager Arun Kumar Nataraja said the three-day event was India’s answer to Christmas.

“We do it slightly different in this part of the world,” Mr Nataraja said.

“Instead of making it an Indian celebration, we celebrate all cultures just like multicultural Australia.”

Mr Nataraja, who has managed Annalakshmi for 15 years, said more than one billion people celebrated the festival worldwide.

Temple of Fine Arts artistic director Sarasa Krishnan said she had been involved with the festival since its inception in 2008.

“Growing up in India and Malaysia, this very important festival heralds fond memories of the entire family and city in preparation of sweets, festivities and celebrations with family and friends,” Ms Krishnan said.

“While some of the general community will be reciting ancient Sanskrit verses to radiate peace and harmony in the world, an artist will be creating a live painting before the audience, picking up the meaning and rhythms of the chanting.”

Ms Krishnan, who teaches traditional Indian dance and choreography, said Indian dance stemmed from a spiritual source.

“Through the many multicultural performances and our traditional Indian dance presentations, it will culminate in the story of Deepavali, from our production of Ramayana,” she said.

The family-friendly festival incorporates culture with dance, art, music and food through performances, workshops and demonstrations.

“Although Australian and Indian cultures are geographically separated by the Indian Ocean, this divide is certainly bridged though the multicultural exchange that has become The Deepavali celebration in Perth,” Ms Krishnan said.

“It is a time when the community truly resonates as one to celebrate the light in each of us.”