The Consulate General of India, Shanghai organised “Diwali Mela 2021” and Ekta Divas celebration on 31 Oct 2021. Shanghai Kannadigaru presented Karnataka specialties (Music, festivities, tourism, costumes, famous personalities, delicacies etc.) during this event.

Venue: No. 39, Wanshan Road, Hongqiao Economic and Technical Development Zone, Shanghai (Chancery Plot). 

The Shanghai Kannadigaru group decided to setup Karnataka Pavilion to promote Karnataka culture & heritage for the Ekta Divas & Diwali event organized by Indian Consulate, Shanghai on Oct.31st. A WeChat group was formed to sync up with the enthusiastic Volunteers. Everyone in the group was busy with their own things to do for the stall. WeChat group calls were made from time to time to sync up & confirm who would volunteer for what & items to bring.

Mohini and Reena would be performing at the venue, so they were busy visiting the consulate office, discussing on the arrangements, etc. Nandita and Kala volunteered to lead the stall, looking after the overall arrangements, welcoming visitors, bring some bindhis & bangles, etc. Nagarathna was entrusted food & arts, she volunteered to get channapatna dolls, Mysore Sandal soap, Sarees, Dharwad Peda, Holige, Patrode, coffee powder. Bharathi was entrusted food & music, she volunteered to bring Veene, Mysore Pak, Mysore Gombe, Gandha, Maddur vada, Mysore Silk saree. Sadashiva also would bring some channapatna dolls. Prajwal volunteered for some more food and the IT arrangements. Sandeep volunteered on the Kannada Literature and IT arrangements. Achuth was given charge of Tourism. He worked with Vikas on the Standees and postcards, who already was working on the backdrop picture, cut outs, standees, postcards, venue arrangements, etc. Prajwal found a high-quality video from Karnataka tourism, it was decided to keep playing this at the venue.

Sunday the Oct.31st arrived. Shwetha went to face paint Reena and Mohini for the performance. Vikas had probably reached the venue by 1pm and started on the arrangements. Nandita and Kala reached the Venue by 2:30pm and urged the fellow volunteers to reach soon, they saw that all other stalls seem to have been ready and we were lagging. Achuth, Sandeep and Sadashiv soon reached at around 3:30pm. The entire mood seemed quite electric. Speakers were playing various Indian music; folks were all busy preparing their stalls. The Kerala Stall already looked ready and beautiful. The Punjab stall looked very vibrant, with the men sporting flamboyant Orange Turbans. There were other stalls for the food and handicrafts, folks were quite busy setting them up.

The team worked on how to arrange the different aspects of the stall. Where to put up the food, music, tourism, sarees, and the arts. Hegde and Nagarathna soon came and took out all the stuff that they brought. Everyone worked together to arrange the food & artworks. Sandeep setup the TV for playing out the videos. When Bharathi came and unveiled the Veena in the stall, there was sense of amazement amongst various folks, mostly the Chinese, who seemed to be in complete awe. It was around 5:30pm, and by now a decent crowd had gathered in the ground. The Karnataka stall looked quite good; the team was quite happy with efforts so far.

Mohini & Reena soon came, they became the next best attraction for the stall. Shwetha had done a great job of face painting, quite professional. The evening weather was cool, they played short audio clips of Yakshagaana  drumbeats and other Indian songs, wow, what a magical feeling. By 6pm, the crowd had settled in, and soon the cultural events started. CG welcomed the guests and spoke a few words on the importance of Sardar Vallabhai Patel in today’s scheme of things. The cultural program started off with Mohini & Reena’s performance. They performed Yakshagaana dance to a phenomenal medley of drumbeats & songs from Rangitharanga, captivating the audience. They made us all proud by putting up such amazing display of Coastal Karnataka flavor in Shanghai. After this performance, Pranavi along with her friend performed a wonderful Kuchipudi dance to the tunes of “Bhaagyada Lakshmi” song.

The team stuck to their posts and welcomed the curious visitors. Nandita and Kala did good job of welcoming visitors to the stall, applying Gandha (Sandal) on their foreheads. Nagarathna was doing phenomenal job of explaining the channapatna dolls with great passion, the visitors seemed quite pleased & content with what they saw & heard. Sadashiva did great job in explaining the story behind the various sarees. Bharathi was enthusiastically explaining the spirit of Veene to the music lovers. Achuth was explaining the tourist attractions that Karnataka had to offer, in high spirits. Prajwal & Anita were busy serving the sampling of various food items, this was the probably the busiest section of the stall, people loved it. One could see the content and delight in visitor’s face after sampling food from the stall, it was a delightful culinary experience for all.

The visitors from all over continued to drop by the Karnataka stall. There was a Japanese solo traveler who seemed happy to see around all the stall and went out quite content. We met several enthusiastic Chinese folks curious about India & its culture. A Chinese gentleman who already had been to Hampi and loved it. There were folks from other parts of India, who also seemed quite happy to see the Karnataka stall, the variety that we had here on display, acknowledged the efforts that the Shanghai Kannadigaru team had put in. There was a young man from Russia, who thoroughly enjoyed the tourism and arts section of the stall. Then there were others from USA & Czech republic, who were happy to know about Karnataka and its many worlds. Overall, the team gave their best to promote Karnataka to the best of their abilities. It was a great team effort & all the volunteers had a wonderful time. It was probably one of the most satisfying Sunday evenings providing an enriching experience to all.

Authored by: Achuth Kamath

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