MARCH 2023
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Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation ( Florida chapters listed below are set to hold their annual donor appreciation musical concert featuring “Sa Re Ga Ma” fame singer Vishwanath Batunge along with the “Sur Sangam” live band. “This program provides fantastic opportunities for donors to socialize, learn about this great cause and donate while enjoying an evening of great entertainment,” according to the organizers.

The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, supports and runs non-formal, one-teacher schools in over 80,000 villages educating 2.2 million children. It has received the prestigious Gandhi Peace award. The schools run at the low cost of $1/ day budget in India. $365 can support a single school for a whole year. A team of volunteers supports this cause and consequently keeps the costs low. 

“The schools were our first intervention for Ekal. We have now expanded our services beyond the schools through the Integrated Village Development (IVD) initiative,” said Dr. Umesh Choudhry, Regional President for the Florida region. The basic education is augmented with digital literacy to the children in Ekal schools via tablets (E-Shiksha). In addition, a mobile computer lab (Ekal on wheels) and computer training labs provide digital literacy to youth in the villages. Health and hygiene supplemented with telemedicine provide health services to the last mile. Training farmers with organic farming, modern and productive agricultural practices for improved health and harvest outcomes with handicrafts and carpentry skills enhances their rural entrepreneurship. Skill training is provided to women via tailoring training centers to encourage economic empowerment. All programs come together under the Integrated Village Development (IVD) program to bring holistic development to the rural community.

OCALA - FRIDAY, MARCH 10: India Association and Cultural Center, 2030 N.E. 36th Ave., Ocala; 7 p.m.; for information, call Nagesh Kohil (352) 427-1542.

JACKSONVILLE - SATURDAY, MARCH 11: Bolles Middle School (Park Auditorium), 2264 Bartram Road, Jacksonville; 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; for information, Sarath Kuravi at (904) 537-7200.

LAKELAND - SUNDAY, MARCH 12: Shri Swaminarayan Temple, 2793 New Tampa Highway, Lakeland; 8 p.m.; for details, call Nilesh Patel at (863) 853-9315.

TAMPA/ST. PETERSBURG - SATURDAY, MARCH 18: India Cultural Center (ICC), 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa; 5 p.m.; for information, call Jaimin Amin at (813) 283-8125. Donate or Pledge or Purchase the event ticket at Or QR code:


TALLAHASSEE - SUNDAY, MARCH 19: Lee Hall Auditorium, 1601 MLK Jr. Blvd., Tallahassee; 4.30 p.m.; for information, call Santosh Dixit (850) 559-1080.

ORLANDO/LONGWOOD - SUNDAY, APRIL 30: Olympia High School, 4301 S Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando; 5 p.m. for information, call Suresh Gupta (407) 352-2889.



MELBOURNE: Manav Mandir will present its silver jubilee Indiafest 2023 on Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12, at Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne. There will be cultural and fashion shows, henna, arts and crafts, Indian cooking demo, food, raffle drawings, etc. This year, ‘Handicrafts of India’ will be showcases with display and hands-on activities. Timings are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 12 and under and kids younger than 5 years are free.

Last year Indiafest started a $100,000 endowment scholarship with Eastern Florida State College to afford tuition for deserving students who need a helping hand. The committee has chosen “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of Brevard” as the charity of the year. This organization works directly with relative care families, of abused and neglected children, to develop and demonstrate effective, practical solutions to safely reduce the need for foster care and improve the well-being of the children. Additionally, with the humanitarian need so crucial right now, Indiafest will also be donating funds, through Red Cross, to assist in the relief efforts of the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

For information, call Nina Gadodia at (321) 779-0110, e-mail [email protected] or visit

ORLANDO/CASSELBERRY: The Hindu Society of Central Florida will hold its annual Indiafest on Saturday, March 18, on the temple grounds, and the cultural program in the air-conditioned community hall. Admission is free with a $5 parking fee. The event, featuring a fashion show, poster board (family) and pot decoration competitions, dances, and booths for clothes, jewelry and plenty of food, will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at HSCF, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry.

For questions or to reserve a booth, call HSCF Program Chair Raji Sekar at (407) 574-1814 or visit

GAINESVILLE/ALACHUA: Presented by the India Cultural & Education Center, India Fest (Traditions of India) will be held on Saturday, March 25. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Legacy Park Multipurpose Center, 15400 Peggy Road, Alachua. A health fair will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There also will be Indian food, music/dance, fashion, jewelry, etc.

For information, email [email protected] or visit

Here are of the communities celebrating the festival of colors in Florida:


MARCH 4: presented by Spinning Canvas; Gallo Loco Cantina, 4103 Florida-574, Plant City; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; DJ Jiten of Toronto; Indian, Tex-Mex food vendors; private cabanas; $22 early bird; for tickets, visit

: organized by Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (Marathi association); Lowry Park (shelter 120), 7525 North Blvd., Tampa; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; free for MMTB members, $30 non-members; for information, email [email protected] 

MARCH 6: Shree Raam Mandir, 7411 E. Comanche Ave., Tampa; 6:30 p.m.; for information, call Angela at (813) 265-3268.

MARCH 7: Satya Narayan katha from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., Holi Ka Dahan from 6:50 to 7:45 p.m., and mahaprasad after aarti; Ambaji Mandir, 10991 58th St., Pinellas Park; call the mandir at (727) 388-6685 or visit

MARCH 7: Satya Narayan katha from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., Holi Ka Dahan from 6:50 to 7:45 p.m., and mahaprasad after aarti; Laxmi Narayan Mandir, 4615 George Road, Tampa; for information, call (813) 444-9786 or visit

MARCH 12: organized by Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Jennings Middle School, 9325 Governors Run Drive, Seffner; free for members; non-members $25/person; lunch; natural colors available for purchase; free parking; for information, call Mukesh Patel at (727) 505-4636.


MARCH 6: Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple (ISSO), 2793 New Tampa Highway, Lakeland; 5 to 8 p.m.; for information, call (863) 529-1146 or visit

MARCH 7: organized by Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida; 7 p.m.; Mary Holland Park, 2015 Shumate Drive, Bartow; for information, visit


MARCH 6: Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry; canteen will be open from 6 p.m.; for information, call (407) 699-5277 or visit

MARCH 10: Maa Durga Sri Sai Baba Temple, 11414 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando; 6 to 9 p.m.; for information, call (407) 437-6709 or visit

MARCH 11: organized by Indian Horizon of Florida; Festival Park, 2911 E. Robinson St., Orlando; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; $15 in advance; for information, call (321) 946-6332 or visit to purchase tickets.

MARCH 12: organized by Gujarati Society of Central Florida; starts at 9 a.m.; Olympia High School, 4301 S Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando; free for society members; $25 non-members; for information, call (609) 576-3312, email [email protected] or visit


MARCH 5: organized by Gujarati Samaj of North East Florida; Ramallah American Club, 3130 Parental Home Road, Jacksonville; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $5 members, $20 non-members; for information, call (224) 622-0655 or visit

MARCH 6: presented by Hindu Society of North East Florida; 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Hindu Temple of Jacksonville, 4968 Greenland Road; for information, visit


MARCH 19: organized by India Association of Naples; Vineyards Community Park, 6231 Arbor Blvd., W. Naples; 2 to 5 p.m.; Holi colors, snacks and drinks will be provided by association; free for association members, $10 non-members; for information, email [email protected]


MARCH 12: organized by Indian Regional and Cultural Center (IRCC); Miramar Regional Park, 16801 Miramar Parkway, Miramar;11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; pre-sale discount at $30 per person IRCC members, non-IRCC members $35; for details, call Durgesh Thaker at (954) 543-1539 or visit




In this digital age, it bears no repetition that newspapers are a dying breed. A report by Northwestern University reveals that two newspapers are folded every week. As we steadily march toward our 19-year anniversary (printing monthly since August 2004 without skipping an issue), here are some thoughts for our readers.

Since the onset of Covid, Khaas Baat has been available in its entirety in PDF format at for everyone, free of charge. If you would like to receive our weekly emails, let us know at [email protected] And if you want home/office delivery, please fill out the subscription form on page two. Despite rising printing and mailing costs, we will continue to publish Khaas Baat. But we will need sponsors and your support moving forward to make that happen. Checks can be addressed to Khaas Baat, 8312 Windsor Bluff Drive, Tampa, FL 33647. Payment can also be made via PayPal to PP ID:[email protected]

As activities are under way, we request community leaders and organizers to email event details to [email protected] by the 20th of the month for the following month’s issue. We always welcome your story ideas and suggestions on how we can best serve our community. Khaas Baat is proud to be the ONE AND ONLY Sunshine State publication to offer comprehensive coverage of news and happenings in your Florida Indian community. Do follow us on twitter @khaasbaat and join us on Facebook.


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