Rockbank’s Durga Temple was engulfed in entertainment, food and a spectrum of colours at this year’s Holi event
The sun was shining bright, making it the perfect day to celebrate Holi at Durga Temple, Rockbank. The venue had all the makings of a great Holi celebration: food stalls serving delicious Indian street food and sweets, slightly over-priced swings to keep the children occupied, foot-tapping entertainment numbers and marquees for various businesses to interact and promote their products and services.
The day started with a puja ceremony followed by lyrical bhajans to mark the occasion. After that, there was no stopping the crowds from dancing to the tunes played by DJ Shalend while the MC kept them engaged and entertained. All around the venue you could see people playing with coloured powder, throwing water and water balloons at each other. The glee was visible on the faces of all present.
There were also performances by local artists. Vinayak Sharma, an upcoming singer sang a few of his songs in Punjabi. There was a wonderful dance performance by the Mum’s Dance Club, a Bollywood dance club run for mothers living in Taylors Hill and neighbouring suburbs. The MC also organised a dance- off between individuals with the winner getting a surprise gift.
By popular demand the winner was local Ash. “Sri Durga Temple celebrates all Hindu festivals and we have tried to mix fun with tradition today,” said Gurpreet Verma, Temple Committee Member. “Along with colours and music there is a skit and a Kuchipudi dance performance to enlighten the young ones with the history of Holi.” The footfall at the event was relatively low, with the probable reason being the multitude of similar events happening around Melbourne within a two week period.
The organisers are working towards coordinating with other groups to partner and hold such events together in the future. So, if all works out, from next year onwards we might see a lesser number of similar, overlapping events.
People were seen enjoying the cultural programs and the food, but mostly playing Holi. “The ambience here is good,” said Pallavi and Anurag, regulars at the Durga Temple. “We came here so that our daughter could see the festival and have some fun. It’s a good event, less crowded than it was last time around, but we are making the most of it.”
Meenu, another attendee said, “We are really enjoying the event. It’s a good way to get together with the Indian community and celebrate this festival.”
Mandir volunteers presented a skit depicting the story of Prahlad and Holika. After this, renowned Kuchipudi dancer from India, Madhurima Narla performed a solo, as well as a ballet with her team, portraying the story of Holi. The audience was left mesmerised by her precision, swift moves and fleeting emotions.
“The festival of colours is an absolutely beautiful fiesta. I was introduced to this festival about four years ago and it is lovely to see the smiles on everyone’s faces,” said Cr Sophie Ramsey of Melton City Council. “I loved the performances given today, the dance moves, the costumes, the alluring expressions – all of it was breathtaking.”
The event, which was supported by the Victorian Government, was organised completely by volunteers without the involvement of an event management company.
The evening came to an end with a spectacular Holika Dahan – the ritual where a pyre is lit to burn out the evil in our lives with a hope for prosperity.