By CLAUDIA LORENZANA
Utah Valley’s Krishna Temple and KHQN radio station are hosting the 11th Annual Festival of India Saturday in Spanish Fork.
According to Vai Bhavi, a manager of the festival, those attending the festival will be able to experience the true culture and traditions of India.
The festival, on South Main Street, will begin at 4 p.m. and will feature music and entertainment native to India. Nam Hatta, a new-age Indian band, will be performing, along with Krishna Prem, a folk-rock vocalist.
The highlight of the evening will begin around 7 p.m. where those attending will be able to see and participate in a classic drama involving a 20-foot demon.
The drama is the story of Rama, an incarnation of God, who appeared thousands of years ago. Rama’s purpose is to rescue his wife, Queen Sita, by slaying a 10-headed, 20-armed dragon named Ravana.
The drama is filled with plenty of action, including an army of monkeys who attempts to save the queen. After several attempts to kill him, Ravana is shot by Rama in the navel by flaming arrows.
According to Bhavi, the slaying of the demon will commence spectacular fireworks to help celebrate the victory. The crowd is also invited to participate by throwing rocks at the demon to help kill him.
“Most people really enjoy helping to kill the demon,” Bhavi said.
Bhavi compares the slaying of the dragon to the purging of our own “demons.”
“In the end you feel a high triumph. No one leaves without feeling psychologically and spiritually cleansed,” Bhavi said.
According to a news release, the festival will also feature folk dancers such as Bharat Natyam, Odissi and Gujarati and will include juggler and magician, Siddhasvarupananda.
Several exhibits will be set up on focusing on different aspects of India’s culture, such as Hinduism, vegetarianism, temples and dance. Art and photography native to India will also be exhibited at the festival.
The festival will feature a food fair where Indian cuisine will be served. The food fair will include vegetables and rice, fudges, “lassi”, a fruit and yogurt drink and other authentic foods.
“The food will not be too hot or spicy so that Westerners will be able to tolerate them,” Bhavi said.
Besides the food, music and other entertainment, those attending will also be able to see a puppet theater and llamas.
Bhavi is expecting 3,000 to 5,000 people to attend the festival. Admission is $1 for adults and $5 per family.
Bhavi is hoping many students will plan on attending the festival.
“It is a real advantage for them to be exposed to other cultures. It benefits their education,” Bhavi said.