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Amit Kumar
Here’s a roundup of the Festival of Lights celebrations by Indian American communities throughout Florida.


NOV. 9: The New Tampa Gujarati Diwali dinner will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9 at Cilantro Indian restaurant, 11009 N. 56th St., Temple Terrace. Admission is $25 per couple, $10 per child over 5 years of age. RSVP required by Nov. 3 due to limited space. For information, call Nila Patel at (813) 971-8081 or Shital Gandhi at (813) 991-4250.

NOV. 10: The Florida Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (FAPI) will hold its Diwali/Thanksgiving CME and Cultural Gala on Nov. 10 at India Cultural Center in Tampa. Lunch will be at 11:30 to 12:15, followed by CME. The cultural program will be at about 6:30 p.m. with dinner and DJ/dance. Admission is free for CME attendees. Otherwise, admission is $15 for FAPI members and $20 for non-FAPI members. For more information, call FAPI President N.S. Rattehalli at (727) 861-2822 or email

NOV. 10: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Tampa will celebrate Diwali-Annakut on Saturday, Nov. 10. Annakut/aarti darshan will be every hour from noon to 7 p.m. Diwali will be celebrated at 8 p.m. and children’s Diwali will be 2 to 7 p.m. with fun and games for kids of all ages. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is at 9556 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa or call (813) 431-0038.

NOV. 10: The Hindu Temple of Florida will hold Diwali celebrations on Nov. 10 at its community hall, 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa. The grand cultural program will be from 3 to 7 p.m. with fireworks, followed by dinner. Admission is free. To participate in the cultural program, call Kalyani Derasari at (813) 977-6695 or email Also, call Lavanya Dinesh at (813) 855-6166 or e-mail

NOV. 17: The Telugu Association of Florida will celebrate Diwali with singer Karunya and live orchestra Saturday, Nov. 17 at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa. The 6 to 10 p.m. musical extravaganza with dinner at 8:30 p.m. will include Telugu, classical and a few Hindi songs. The association requests a donation, which includes dinner, of $200 for VIP up to four; general admission is $25 per person; children ages 5-18 are $10; children under 5 are free. For information, call Madhavi Sekharam at (813) 792-2646 or K. Veera Reddy at (813) 620-1760 or click on to buy tickets online.

NOV. 17: The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will hold its Diwali/Happy New Year Dinner with live entertainment Nov. 17 at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Singer Amit Kumar will present a tribute “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” to father Kishore Kumar. The 8:30 p.m. concert and dinner is free for Samaj members. Cost for non-members is $40 per person (adults over 18 years of age) and $20 for seniors over 60 years of age and students (with ID). For tickets and information, call Samaj president Dinesh Gandhi at (727) 868-4286 or e-mail or e-mail

NOV. 17: Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB) will celebrate Diwali on Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Hindu Temple of Florida community hall, 5509 Lynn Road. For more information, write to or join MMTB mailing list at


NOV. 4: The Hindu Society of Central Florida New Age (Seniors) group will celebrate Diwali from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 4 in a healthy way at the community hall, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry. Dr. Vikram Mehta will present a seminar on carpal tunnel syndrome (hand pains). Also on the agenda at the celebration is entertainment, study circle, games such as chess, carrom board and playing cards. Also available will be Indian sweets, snacks, tea and coffee. Cost is $5 per person. Everyone 50 years+ (or even nearing 50) is invited. For information, e-mail or call Madan Arora at (407) 971-9259.

NOV. 10: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Orlando will celebrate Diwali-Annakut on Saturday, Nov. 10. Annakut/aarti darshan will be every two hours from noon to 7:30 p.m. Diwali will be celebrated at 7:45 p.m. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is at 1325 W. Oakridge Road, Orlando or call (407) 857-0091.

NOV. 10: The Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry will hold Annakut Utsav on Saturday, Nov. 10 followed with pujas, mahaprasad and fireworks. For more information, call the temple at (407) 699-5277 or click on

NOV. 17: The Orlando Marathi Mandal will hold Diwali celebrations at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry. The mandal is looking for participants in the cultural program. Certificates of achievement also will be presented to grade school students during 2006-07. Deadline to send entries is Nov. 8. Entries can be e-mailed to or call Sanjana Deshmukh at (407) 207-2101.


NOV. 9 AND 11: The Hindu Society of NE Florida in Jacksonville will celebrate Diwali with Lakshmi Pooja and Chopda Vasan Pooja from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. On Sunday, Nov. 11, the temple will hold a Govardhan Pooja and Annakut Maha Prasad from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The temple is at 4968 Greenland Road, Jacksonville or call (904)-269-1155 or click on


NOV. 4: The Hindu Temple of Southwest Florida will hold a Lakshmi Pooja on Sunday, Nov. 4 from 6 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 13411 Shire Lane, Fort Myers; pooja samagri is available and free for all; pooja conducted by Mukesh Vyas; event sponsored by Ramiah and Lakshmi Krishnan and Vidya and Tara Kini; for information, call temple Secretary Janavi Sundaresan at (239) 561-5866 or click on


NOV. 10: The Indian Association of the Space Coast (IASC) will celebrate Diwali on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Clemente Center, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne. For information, call Kumkum Pandit at (321) 761-0284 or check out


NOV. 17: The India Association of Tallahassee will be celebrating Cultural Glimpses of India 2007 on Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. at Chiles High School auditorium, 7200 Lawton Chiles Lane. Dances, songs and skits will be presented. This year also marks the 10th anniversary for the association and to mark this occasion it is celebrating IndiaFest2007 with Art & Photo Exhibition, Rangoli/Diya Exhibition and Holiday Dinner at 2 p.m. The IndiaFest 2007 will precede the Glimpses and dinner will follow the Glimpses. For details, click on or contact Manju Kundra at (850) 893-3581, Subhasis Das at (850) 894-4377 or Soma Sundaram at (850) 219-9799.


NOV. 10: The Gujarati Samaj of Gatorland will celebrate Diwali on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the India Cultural & Education Center (ICEC), Gainesville. The event will begin at 5:30 with social hour followed by dinner and entertainment. For information, call Dilip Amin at (352) 219-3474 or Rakesh Patel at (352) 873-7622.

NOV. 17: The India Cultural & Education Center (ICEC) Youth Group will hold an evening of dance, drama, food and music to celebrate Diwali and Eid on Nov. 17. The play will begin at 6 followed by dinner and music. Cost is $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 7 to 14 and free for kids under 3. For information, call Sona Kaushal at (352) 337-2625 or Vatsala Desai at (352) 378-0080.


NOV. 9-10: The Shri Swaminarayan Temple will hold Diwali celebrations from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. The next day, the temple will hold New Year Annakut Aarti at noon followed by a Mangala Aarti at 5:30 p.m. For information, call (863) 687-4776 or visit the temple at 2793 New Tampa Highway, Lakeland.


NOV. 3: The Telugu Association of South Florida will celebrate Diwali from 3 to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Shiva Vishnu Temple. Local children will present a cultural program and prominent Telugu playback singer Parthu will present a musical extravaganza. To register children for cultural program, e-mail For information, call Nandu Dhanekula at (561) 706-4877 or Niraja Regula at (954) 447-9050.

NOV. 9-10: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Boyton Beach will celebrate Diwali on Friday, Nov. 9 with Lakshmi/Chopada Puja from 7 to 8 p.m. with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. Annakut Darshan will be the following day from noon to 6:30 p.m. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is at 541 S.E. 18th Ave., Boynton Beach. For information, call (561) 740-2898 or click on

Other Area Events


NOV. 21: ICC INDIAN SENIOR GET-TOGETHER, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at ICC, Lotus Hall, 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa; lunch served; free for seniors and everyone else is invited; for information or a ride, call John Adhia at (813) 784-6930 or Ram Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172.


NOV. 3: TALENT SHOW AND GROUP DANCE COMPETITION; for juniors and seniors; organized by the Gujarati Samaj of Central Florida; free; 6 p.m.; Lyman High School, 865 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood; for information, call Alka Shukla at (407) 221-3517 or e-mail

NOV. 24: HINDU SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA (HSCF) NEW AGE SENIORS’ GROUP GET-TOGETHER, everyone 50 years (or even nearing 50) is invited; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; fun games for all seniors; free event; Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry; for information, call Madan Arora at (407) 971-9259 or e-mail

DEC. 24-30: CHINMAYA FAMILY SPIRITUAL CAMP; presented by Chinmaya Mission Orlando; conducted by H.H. Swami Tejomayananda; Wyndham Resort Orlando; Sand Lake Road and Interstate 4; for information, call (407) 963-6301 or click on

DEC. 31: NEW YEAR’S PARTY: charity event to benefit GP Hospital (Bhandu) Ashram, Santram Mandir and Muni Seva Ashram (Goraj) in India; 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Orlando Airport Hotel (Clarion); $30 per person and children 10 years of age and under are free; ACE DJ; for tickets, call Himanshu Bhatt at (407) 929-4311 or Tino Patel at (407) 579-5050.


NOV. 3: 12TH FESTIVAL OF INDIA; organized by the South Florida of Association of Indians in America (AIA); Coral Springs Center for the Arts; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; admission is $5, children 5 years old and under are free; parking is free; for information, click on or call Saja Khan at (954) 577-9330, Joyce Campos at (954) 752-7573 or Kitty Singh at (954) 753-1635.

DEC. 14: SA RE GA MA PA CHALLENGE; Woodlands Indian Cuisine presents singers Mauli, Raja, Aneek, Amanat Ali, Sumedha, Pooja, Junaid; 8 p.m.; $45, $55, $65, $80, $100, VIP; Coral Springs Center of Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive; for information, call Prasad at Woodlands at (954) 749-3221 or (407) 595-3205 or e-mail

To submit an upcoming event in your city, e-mail


VIDYALAYA AT HINDU TEMPLE OF FLORIDA: Every Sunday except on public holiday for first-graders to 12th grade; 12:15 to 2:45 p.m.; subjects include Mathematics and English; $25 registration fee per academic year, $125 per fall or winter term; Hindu Temple is at 5509 Lynn Road in Tampa; for more information on Vidyalaya, call Manish Kharod at (813) 963-0616 or Ravi Narayanan at (813) 961-6120.

PANDIT JASRAJ SCHOOL OF MUSIC FOUNDATION: Vocal and harmonium classes by Pandit Rattan Mohan Sharma and Radha Raman Kirtane; table classes (group and special) by Aditya Narayan Banerjee (; classes held at different locations depending on the day; for more information, call (813) 960-0176 or e-mail:; Web site:

CHHANDAYAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC: Sitar, vocal and table classes by Hidayat Khan (son of sitar maestro Vilayat Khan), Mithali Bhaumik Banerjee (vocal) and Pandit Sameer Chatterjee (tabla); classes are held in Clearwater; for more information, call Satya Challa at (727) 712-1233 or Viji Reddy at (727) 934-7721 or e-mail

BALVIHAR BY CHINMAYA MISSION OF TAMPA BAY: Sundays from 10am to noon in Tampa; ages 5 through teen; children learn about Hindu religion, culture and festivals through stories from the Ramayana and Bhagwad Gita; for more information on location and fees visit or call Laxmi Sastry at (813) 948-3590 or e-mail

SANKARA CULTURAL ALLIANCE OF FLORIDA: classes in Carnatic percussion instruments mridangam, ghatam, kanjira and morsingh by Ghatam Vidwan Sri T.H. Subash Chandran (brother of T.H. "Vikku" Vinayakram) and N. Ganesh Kumar (; classes held in Tampa and at the Hindu Temple of Florida; for more information, call Kala Gangadharan at (813) 979-4598 or Jyothi Venkatachalam at (813) 977-9039 or (813) 404-7899 or e-mail or

TAMPA SHAKHA/BALAGOKULAM: free activities for all ages, including yoga, games, field trips, and shlokas for children and adults; 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, Hindu Temple of Florida, Lynn Road; for more information, call Vijay Singh at (813) 920-7494.

VEDANTA CENTER IN ST. PETERSBURG The Vedanta Center of St. Petersburg, 216 19th Ave. S.E. (first house to the right on crossing Bay Street on 19th Avenue Southeast) holds lectures on Vedanta every Sunday from 11 a.m. to noon by Swami Yuktamanandaji. There also is a Gita class on Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., followed by meditation at the center, which is part of the Ramakrishna Mission and Math of India. For more information, call (727) 896-9840 or click on


JAIN VISHWA BHARATI U.S.A.: Every Saturday classes are held on Pranayam, Yogic Exercise and Relaxation, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; donations accepted; JVB Center, 7819 Lillwill Ave., Orlando; for information, call (407) 852-8694 or e-mail


CHINMAYA MISSION: Classes and activities for adults and children from kindergarten to grade 12 on Hindu culture, based on the universal philosophy of Advaita Vedanta (Oneness); times and days vary; for information, e-mail



HINDU TEMPLE OF FLORIDA: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; 5509 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 962-6890.

SHIV MANDIR: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday; officiating priests are Pandit Balraj Maharaj and Ram Maharaj; 2001 N. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33607; (813) 907-6311.

DADA BHAGWAN’S GROUP OF TAMPA BAY: Satsang every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.; everyone is invited; call Ramesh Patel at (813) 926-1143 or Mukesh Patel at (813) 969-1740.

JAIN SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY: Monthly bhavna from 3 to 5 p.m. every fourth Sunday; also, non-Jains can take Dev Darshan of statues made of marbles by sculpture-artist from Rajasthan; 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.; both events at Days Inn hotel at Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75; call Kini Shah at (813) 503-0715 or Pradeep Bavishi at (727) 525-5400.

VISHNU MANDIR: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday only, discourse by Pandit Vishnu Sharma; 5303 Lynn Road, Tampa, FL 33624; (813) 654-2551.

SANATAN MANDIR: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday; 311 East Palm Ave., Tampa, FL 33602; (813) 221-4482.

SHRI SARASWATI DEVI MANDIR: 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday only; officiating priest is Pandit Purnanan Sharma; 16220 Livingston Avenue, Lutz, FL 33559; (813) 264-1539.

SHRI RADHA-KRISHNA MANDIR: daily morning arotik at 7 followed by Srimad-Bhavatavam class; 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday Bhagavad-Gita class followed by prasadam; 14610 N. 17th St., Tampa; (813) 971-6474 or click on

BAPS SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; darshan is closed between noon and 4 p.m. but reopens at 4 p.m.; 9226 E. Fowler Ave. (between Interstate 75 and U.S. 301); (813) 986-5473.

MANAV DHARMA ASHRAM: sumiran is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. first Thursday of every month; satsang is 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, followed by dinner; yoga classes begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday; bhajans are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every third Sunday; 7520 Caron Road, Tampa, FL 33615; call the ashram at (813) 889-7155, Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661 or Ashok Modh at (813) 935-3439.

SHREE YAMUNA PREETI SEVA SAMAJ: Pushtimargiya Satsang Mandal invites Vaishnavs of Tampa Bay area to weekend Satsang sabhas and kirtans; 1340 Robin Road S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707; call Smitabein Patel at (813) 961-3816 or Himatlal Parekh at (813) 969-1661.

ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF TAMPA BAY AREA MOSQUE: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; 7326 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa, FL 33601; Tel: (813) 628-0007.

GURDWARA: 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. daily; 15302 Morris Bridge Road, Thonotosassa, FL 33592; (813) 986-6205.

CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA (CSI) CONGREGATION OF FLORIDA: Worship services at 10 a.m. every Sunday at Springhill Missionary Baptist Church, 8119 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa, FL 33619; for information, call John Philip at (813) 986-6844 or Daniel Cherian (Anand) at (813) 985-9890 or click on


HINDU SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: 8:30 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707; (407) 699-5277.

GURDWARA, SIKH SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: 11:30 A.M. to 1 p.m. Sunday; 2527 W. Aloma Ave. (west State Road 426), Oviedo; (407) 805-0404.

MASJID AL-RAHIM, ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA, WEST ORLANDO: five times daily prayers and pray on Friday; 4962 Old Winter Garden Road, Orlando, FL 32811; (407) 523-7882.

SARASWATI DEVI MANDIR/INDO CARIBBEAN CENTER: Sunday service is from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; all special days observed with worship; 1453 N. Pine Hills Road, Orlando, FL 32808; for information, call (407) 522-1988 or click on

SHRI SHIVDHAM HINDU TEMPLE AND BRAHMRISHI YOGASHRAM: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily; 460 O’Berry Hoover Road, Orlando, FL 32825; (407) 380-2661 or e-mail

SANTOSHI MA TEMPLE: bhajan and aarti first Friday of every month; 10900 Park Ridge Gotha Road, Windermere, FL 34786; (407) 996-2830.

SHRI DEVI BHAVAN: 9 A.M. TO 11:30 a.m. every Sunday; Pandit is Eshwar Persaud; 6206 W. Amelia St., Orlando, FL 32835; (407) 822-8057.

SHRI LAXMINARAYAN MANDIR: 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday; 269 N. Klondike Ave., Pine Hills, FL 32811; (407) 877-7916.

SHRI SWAMINARAYAN MANDIR (BAPS): 1325 W. Oak Ridge Road, Orlando, FL 32809; (407) 857-0091.

POINCIANA HINDU MANDIR INC.: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each Sunday and on special festivals; 3999 Monterey Road, Kissimmee, FL 34758; (407) 873-2679.


SHRI SWAMINARAYAN TEMPLE: 2793 New Tampa Highway, Lakeland, FL 33815; (863) 682-8260.


ISKCON OF ALACHUA (International Society for Krishna Consciousness): founder is A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, P.O. Box 819, Alachua, FL 32616; (386) 462-2017.


SHIRDI SAI CENTER: 4707 Pleasant Grove Road, Inverness, FL 34452; for timings of the center and any other information, call (352) 860-2181 or e-mail


HINDU SOCIETY OF NORTHEAST FLORIDA (HSNEF): 714 Park Ave., Orange Park; for information, call (904) 269-1155 or click on


SOUTH FLORIDA HINDU TEMPLE: 13010 W. Griffin Road, Southwest Ranches, FL 33330; for timings and classes at the temple, call (954) 438-3675 or e-mail

SHIVA VISHNU TEMPLE OF SOUTH FLORIDA: 5661 Dykes Road, Southwest Ranches, FL 33331; 9 a.m. to noon and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays; call (954) 689-0471 or click on

SHIVA MANDIR: 3000 N.W. 29TH Ave., Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309; for information, call (954) 735-3560 or click on

ISLAMIC CENTER OF BOCA RATON: 3100 N.W. FIFTH AVE., Boca Raton, FL 33431; for information, call (561) 395-7221 or click on

SIKH GURUDWARA: 1600 S.W. 60th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33331; for information, call (954) 680-0221.

Send information on upcoming events to Nitish S. Rele, Khaas Baat, 18313 Cypress Stand Circle, Tampa, FL 33647
or e-mail
Deadline for submissions is the 18th of each month to be included in the next issue.

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