Cancellation of 26th Festival of India due to COVID-19

INDIA ASSOCIATION of CHARLOTTE  - Press Release 4-12-2020

In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus, federal, state and local government directives, restricting social interaction outside the home have created an unprecedented challenge to our way of life.

We have been following the advice and guidelines from the authorities in real time; and monitoring the situation with some of our key partners. After assessing the projected outlook in the coming months, our board has recommended a change in direction of our current festival plans.

We deeply regret to announce our very difficult decision to cancel the 26th Festival of India, scheduled for July 18-19, 2020 in Belk Theater and on Tryon St. This is an extreme step of cancellation of an annual event, that has been our labor of love for the last 25+ years.

“The safety of our visitors, our performers, our volunteers and all other stakeholders, is of paramount concern to us and that is why we are taking this extreme action,” said IAC President Lal Vishin.

“We understand the pain and disruption that our community is going thru as a result of this pandemic, and hope our action will be a small step in helping control the spread of the virus. We will continue to follow all guidance from the authorities as we move forward and will keep you updated via our website ("

India Association of Charlotte (IAC) is working with all the festival stakeholders and exploring new dates for our next Festival of India in the Fall of 2021. We thank everyone for their understanding, patience and support, as we navigate together through these uncharted and treacherous waters in the days and months to come.

Charlotte Welcoming Week

Event - Virtual Festival of India 

We are honored to be part of the Welcoming Week celebrations in Charlotte. Here is a presentation curated to highlight key facets of our annual Festival of India, that we had to cancel this year for the first time in 25 years, because of pandemic related challenges.

The exhibit touches on some key community service initiatives by our festival team, like -  a) The Bus Stand Project b) Anuvia Collage Project c) Covid Mask Initiative d) Big Fat Indian Wedding.

And it also offers you a broad view of the activities within the festival itself, by displaying vignettes of various types of content like - a) Cultural Exhibits b) Indian Dance Performances b) Visual Arts c) Food/Souvenirs d) Turban/Saree & Henna Tattoos and more.

The exhibit content is in eight segments and here is a link to those. Please play each segment in the order listed  and enjoy!

Virtual Festival Of India


Special Theme Exhibit - Glimpses of Bollywood


Indian cinema, often known as Bollywood is the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai. Cinema is immensely popular in India, with as many as 1,600 films produced in various languages every year. Indian cinema produces more films than Hollywood, and are watched by more people than any other country in the world.

The most popular genre in the early years of Bollywood has been the Masala film, which freely mixes different genres including action, comedy, romance, drama and melodrama along with musical numbers.

Indian values, where relationships were valued more than mere possessions, was a consistent theme in those early films and depicted those  values in a sensitive and entertaining manner. Whether it is drama, romance, action or comedy, Indian Cinema offers something for every age group. 

Let’s walk down the memory lane of a century of Bollywood Cinema and  acknowledge its history, from silent movies to talkies, its golden era to modern era, its directors like Dada Phalke, Satyajeet Ray to Karan Johar and singers like Kishor Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar to Mika Singh and Shreya Ghoshal and so much more. 

We hope that you will enjoy the exhibit and also learn something about the rich history and diversity of Indian cinema, that has evolved from mere escapism to addressing contemporary social issues of the broader society.       

Cultural Exhibit – Wedding Diversity in India

One of the reasons we love weddings so much is that they're typically full of rituals. In fact, cultural norms and traditions are key to what make them so special and meaningful.

Marriages and Wedding Ceremonies in India are a grand affair and they are held in a unique manner in the different regions and states. Bengali Wedding is known for its gusto and pompous celebration. These rituals are incomplete without the ‘SaatPaak’ in which the bride encircles the groom seven times while covering her face with the betel leaves. One of the South Indian weddings, Malayali weddings are held in the mornings and the conjugal ceremony is called ‘Velli’. The father of the bride welcomes the groom by washing his feet and the marriage is complete when the groom ties a ‘thali’ or a yellow thread around the bride’s neck.

However, in Eastern India, in a Marathi Wedding, prior to the wedding trousseau, the ‘ShakharPuda’ or engagement ceremony takes place. During the wedding, the couple is separated with a silk shawl.

Another type of wedding is the Muslim Wedding a ceremony performed by about 200 million Indians. In this type of ceremony, the ‘Nikah’ in Islam is read by two priests and after the consent of the couple, the pious Nikah Naama is signed. Hereafter, the assembly is addressed with Khutba-tun-nikah or the marriage sermon. After this sermon, a mirror is placed between the couple, where their eyes meet each other for the first time.


Himalayas – a Vignette

Himalayas, mountain range that spans some 1500 miles thru Northern India, is home to some of the planet’s tallest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayas cross over five countries: India, Nepal, China, Pakistan and Bhutan, and glaciers and run off from that range is a national treasure and a lifeline to many of these countries. In Sanskrit Himalaya means “abode of snow” and for India in particular, it is truly a gift from nature as some of the great rivers like Ganges, Brahamputra, Jhelum etc. have originated from here and created societies along the way.

The exhibit is a firsthand report brought back by a Charlotte team who trekked to that unforgiving region of the Himalayas near Everest and remain captivated by the stunning landscapes and the innocence and kindness of the people, who call that range in its foothills home.

Join us as we transport you to a region of the world that most of us will never visit. While the images give us a small peek into the lives of these people, many questions remain, such as how they find food, water, and shelter. One can only imagine the kind of conditions that these people live through and the kind of spirit it takes to survive in that arctic environment without many modern facilities!




A very sensuous garment worn by women, the Sari consisting of a length of lightweight fabric with one end wrapped about the waist to form a skirt and the other draped over the shoulder or covering the head. Come to this exhibit and learn how to put on this native attire that flatters any shape!



Yoga Exhibit

Is a system of physical, mental and spiritual practices which have been traced back to pre-Vedic times (500 BCE) in the Indian subcontinent. Over the centuries, its practice has been adapted and assimilated by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Today, its use has become widespread among the religious and the secular alike. Displays in this exhibit cover a wide range of general themes like history of yoga and its different varieties and also more specific themes, like chakra and yogic therapies. Yoga experts will be at hand to answer your questions.




Is the application of Henna as a temporary form of body art sometimes called Henna Tattoos. Come have your hands adorned with intricate traditional patterns at minimal cost.