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In January, numerous Florida cities will celebrate India’s Republic Day (India adopted its Constitution on Jan. 26, 1950). Below are some of the communities holding celebrations in the Sunshine State:

TAMPA: The Federation of India Associations (FIA) of Tampa Bay will hold its Republic Day event from 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa. On the daylong agenda is flag-hoisting (around 2:30); cultural program; fancy dress, rangoli, cooking and sports competitions; booths showcasing Indian states, Indian arts, crafts, clothes and jewelry; and food on sale. For more information, call Madhavi Sekharam at (813) 792-2646 or e-mail [email protected], Dr. Swarna Lokesh at (727) 934-1564 or e-mail [email protected] or visit www.fia-tampabay.com

ORLANDO: The Indian American Chamber of Commerce will hold an India Republic Day Meet and Event from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center (at the Florida Mall). The event is free for members; non-members pay $25. For more information, call Tino Patel at (407) 579-5050 or Beena Parikh at (321) 217-8605; RSVP at [email protected] or visit www.iaccorlando.com

SOUTH FLORIDA: The Indian Religious and Cultural Center (IRCC) will hold its Republic Day and Lohri events from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Miramar Regional Park, 16801 Miramar Parkway, Miramar. To register for a food table, call Poonam Wadhwa at (954) 345-3412 or Mona Harpalani at (954) 306-0609. Registration fee is $35. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.irccflorida.com/

JACKSONVILLE: The Indian Cultural Society of Jacksonville will celebrate India Day from 4.30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Atlantic Coast High School (near 9A and Baymeadows Road), Jacksonville. Highlights include a fancy dress competition, musical bingo, various dance and cultural performances, and food. To participate or for more information, e-mail [email protected], [email protected] or visit http://www.jaxics.org/

GAINESVILLE: The youth group of the India Cultural & Education Center in Gainesville will celebrate India’s Republic Day on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the center, 1115 S.W. 13th St. Indian food and snacks will be sold before the cultural program by the children of Gainesville community. For information, call (352) 379-2911 or visit www.icec-florida.org/

TALLAHASSEE: To commemorate Republic Day, India Association of Tallahassee (IATLH) will be hosting a Sit-Down & Draw Contest for all members on Saturday, Jan. 28, between 1 and 2 p.m. in Meeting Rooms A and B at the Leroy Collins Leon County Public Library, 200 W. Park Ave., Tallahassee. Thereafter, IATLH will observe Republic Day at 2 p.m. Also, a General Body Meeting will be held at 3 p.m. in the same venue. For more information, visit www.iatlh.org

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kite-flying dayCall it Makarsankrant. Uttarayan. Lohri. Or Pongal. The kite-flying day will be celebrated by several communities in Florida. Here are a few:

TAMPA: The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will celebrate Uttarayan from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, at Rowlett Park, 2548 River Hills Drive (near intersection of east River Hills Drive and Rowlett Park Road). The Samaj will sell kites and thread. Refreshment snacks and lunch will be served. Food will be provided by the Samaj. For more information, call Samaj President Chetan Shah at (727) 688-6149 or visit www.gujaratisamaj.org

Also, the Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB) will hold its annual Makar Sankrant program from 4 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, at Carrolwood Cultural Center, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. 13345 Casey Road, Tampa. On the agenda is a Marathi film “Bal Gandharva” followed by haldi-kunku. The event is free for members; non-members pay $15 for adults and $5 for children ages 10 to 18 years of age. For information, e-mail Sanjiv Potdar at [email protected] or Anirudha Joshi at [email protected]

And on Saturday, Jan. 14, Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Avenue, Tampa, will celebrate Lohri from 7 p.m. For information, call the temple at (813) 221-4482. The same day, the Hindu Temple of Florida, 5509 Lynn Road, in Tampa will celebrate Makarsankrant with Satya Narayana Pooja at 10 a.m. For information, call the mandir at (813) 962-6890. Also, Ambaji Mandir will hold a Makar Sankranti Puja at 6 p.m. the same day. Ambaji Mandir is at 10991 58th St. in Pinellas. For more information, call the mandir at (727) 388-6685, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.ambajimandir.org

ORLANDO: At press time, the date was not fixed for the Gujarati Society of Central Florida’s Uttarayan. However, it will be held from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ralph V. Chisholm Regional Park, 4700 Chisholm Park Trail, in St. Cloud. For more information, call Tino Patel at (407) 579-5050, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.gujaratisocietycfl.com

Also, the Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, will celebrate Makarsankrant at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14. For more information, call Dr. Rajesh Patel at (407) 687-8576, Sreenivas Jarugula at (407) 267-7595 or visit www.hindutempleorlando.org And on Friday, Jan. 13, there will be Lohri Bonfire Celebrations, including dinner, from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the community hall. Tickets are $12 per person in advance or $15 at the door. For details, call Neema Vedi at (407) 805-9198, Promod Dubey at (407) 221-5616, Sudesh Sharma at (407) 862-9920 or e-mail [email protected]

BARTOW/WINTER HAVEN: The Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida will celebrate Uttarayan 2012 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, at Mary Holland Park, North Broadway Ave., Bartow. For more information, call samaj president Himanshu J Patadia at (863) 519-0777, vice president Subhash S. Patel at (863) 648-0294 or visit www.bscfl.com

OCALA: There will be a kids lesson and kite-flying from 3 p.m. at Pushtidham (Haveli of Florida), 14080 S.W. 20th Ave. Road, in Ocala. For information, call Bharat at (973) 460-5936 or Raj Kamdar at (352) 568-5729.

MELBOURNE (SPACE COAST AREA): The date had not been fixed at the time of going to the press but the Indian Association of the Space Coast (IASC) will celebrate its annual kite-flying festival. For updates, visit www.iascbrevard.com

DAYTONA BEACH/ORMOND BEACH: The Indian Cultural Society of Daytona will hold Makarsankrant festivities on Sunday, Jan. 22. For time and venue, call Rita Patel at (386) 795-0008, Shailesh Patel at (386) 846-4760, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.icsdaytona.com

Pandit Rajin Balgobind


Story provided by Dr. Ram Ramcharran

Let’s start 2012 with a spiritual bang. Last year, when various organizations came together for the first time to sponsor a community-wide program, it was a great success.

We had the honor of having Pandit Rajin Balgobind in Tampa for Ramayana Katha on a short notice. He delivered a tremendous message to more than 1,800 people. Then, community organizers asked if he could visit again in January for Katha to begin the New Year on a positive note.

This year, Pandit Balgobind will present a free discourse on the Bhagwat Katha from Jan. 14-20 at the India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa. Bhajans will be from 7 to 7:30 p.m., followed by discourse, then dinner at 9. Devotees are encouraged to bring Prashadam offering. During the Katha, we will have children’s programs in the Lotus Hall.

To sponsor for one of the evenings, call Ram Jakhotia at (813) 863-3048 or Dr. Sadhana Shah at (727) 798-4258.

CALL 813-758-1786.
or write to

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