GSH Navratri Mahotsav 2016


Photos: Gautam Jani

By Priya Chokshi-Thakkar

HOUSTON: The Gujarati Samaj of Houston (GSH) has done it again. Under the leadership of President Amee Patel and Vice-President Rakesh Shah, the entire committee and Board of Trustees planned a grand event for Navratri Mahotsav 2016.

Friday and Saturday Garbas were held at an outdoor venue – Houston Farm and Ranch, and weekday Garba was held at the Arabia Shrine Center. In spite of Navratri celebrations in 11 different locations in Houston, GSH managed to draw record crowds on both weekends, especially the last Saturday.


From Left: Amee Patel (President, GSH), Himesh Gandhi ( Sugar Land Mayor Pro Tem), Yogesh Patel (Election Officer, GSH), and Rakesh Shah ( Vice-President, GSH) at the Navratri 2016 celebrations by Gujarati Samaj of Houston (GSH) on Saturday, October 8 at the Houston Farm and Ranch.

Responding to feedback that the ground was “too uneven” two years ago when GSH held Navratri at Houston Farm and Ranch the first time, organizers took-on the difficult task of laying an artificial AstroTurf on the floor of the arena. President Amee Patel mentioned it was a huge challenge and an added expense, but the entire team worked tirelessly for two days to make sure that the turf was laid-down in time for the celebrations. Aside from the vibrant green AstroTurf, traditional décor and tents by “Tent Couture” provided a festive ambiance for the entire event. The weather was perfect and the outdoor venue made for a spectacular place for families and friends to gather and enjoy traditional garba-raas. The GSH partnered with several vendors to provide an array of cultural food, kid’s activities and phenomenal music. A seven-member band known as ‘Seven Star Group’ with lead singer Garima Khiste of “THE VOICE India,” had an entire crowd swaying to their tunes until the wee hours of the morning.


“I have never seen anything like this before. This event is amazing, and it makes me proud to be a part of the Gujarati Samaj,” said Sugar Land Pro Temp Mayor Himesh Gandhi when taking the stage to address a crowd of more than 4,000 Houstonians. President Amee Patel said, “We put in a lot of effort to try and provide an ‘out-of-this-world’ experience to Houstonians and involve the youth of the community to join our team for future events. We can only hope that our efforts have shown, and that everyone enjoyed the festivities as much as we enjoyed putting them on.”


Every minute detail was taken into consideration while planning for this grand event.  The team even hired a professional photographer, Connor Cleveland, who recorded the event with a camera mounted on a drone. The event was also covered nationally by TV Asia. Gautam Jani, Asit Patel, Chayya Studios and Connor Cleveland took professional pictures of the event.


The GSH recognizes and would like to thank the many sponsors and food vendors who showed support by contributing time and effort towards the event. House of Spices, Discount Power, Aling’s Hakka, and Amir Ali Dodhia with New York Life Insurance were the grand sponsors for the event. Ansh Labs, Gold Key Construction, Gold Star and Masala Munchies were the Silver Sponsors. Chemmanur Jewelers awarded gold coins for first-place winners in several categories.  The weekend venue also hosted a number of food vendors, so that attendees could savor delicacies from a variety of Indian cuisines. Chowaptty Express, Kwality Ice Cream, Harry  Tea and Snacks, Bombay to Beijing, Balaji Bhavan and Devanshi Catering were among a few of the delicious food options.

The next big event that Gujarati Samaj of Houston is hosting is Diwali Dinner on November 4, 2016 at the Arabia Shrine Center and New Year’s Eve Party on December 31, at the Arabia Shrine Center. With a fabulous Navratri event under their belt, we look forward to attending these upcoming events to see what the Samaj has in store for us.


As for the annual Navratri elections, this year was a record year! Since there was only one nomination President and Vice-President, both Amee Patel and Girish Naik, respectively, were elected uncontested for the next two years. We are in eager anticipation of what further changes and positive reform will take place under the continued leadership of President Amee Patel.

All said and danced, residents of Houston and the greater Houston Area enjoyed a wonderfully executed Navratri season. A huge round of applause (be-taali style) to the Gujarati Samaj of Houston for a job well-done!

Founded in 1979, GSH organizes educational and cultural activities to promote Indian heritage, and is registered as a nonprofit organization under 501(C)(3). Our mission is to create an innovative, inclusive and imaginative “Gujarati Samaj Community Center” to implement our vision.

For details and more information regarding the GSH, visit our facebook page Gujarati Samaj of Houston.