Vedic Cultural Center Hosts 4th Annual Ananda Mela

Latha Sambamurti and her band Chai Tea Latte performing at Ananda Mela. Read more at

Latha Sambamurti and her band Chai Tea Latte performing at Ananda Mela.

By Indiawest

REDMOND, United States: Over the July 27-28 weekend, over 15,000 people visited the City Hall campus here to attend the fourth Ananda Mela, whose chief attraction was a 20-foot long model of the river Ganga, tracing its course from its Himalayan origin through the plains of northern India into the Bay of Bengal.

Organized by the Vedic Cultural Center of Sammamish, Wash., the Ananda Mela is one of the largest festivals of Indian art and culture in the Pacific Northwest. Nearly 400 Indian American and other volunteers worked during the festival, and around 100 volunteers were involved in planning and pre-festival preparation, according to a press release.

The display on Jagdish Chandra Bose, the renowned Indian scientist, was informative, as were the displays on Indian mathematics and philosophy.

Food booths offered a variety of tasty preparations, including veggie manchurian, chole bhature, pani puri and other chaat items, pongal-sambhar, pakoras, mango lassi and Bengali sweets, and vendor booths tempted festival-goers with attractive dress and jewelry items.

The Ganga and Yamuna stages offered performances and entertainment on both days. Apart from magic shows and classical and folk dances, musical performances included the Seattle-area bands Chai Tea Latte and Yogi and the Yoginis.

On the evening of July 27, the seven-piece Bhangra-Rock band Indanation from Vancouver made its American debut. On the following evening, Delhi 2 Dublin, a popular act at previous Ananda Melas, returned to regale audiences with their signature blend of Bhangra and Celtic music.

The cooking contest drew nearly 30 contestants, while the meet-and-greet with Seattle-area businessmen and academics offered youth opportunities for motivation, inspiration and career directions.

The Aloha Bhangra dance contest, held during the prime time shows of Indanation and Delhi 2 Dublin, awarded the best dancers from the audience with over 30 gift cards to local area businesses. The grand prize, a one-week fully paid vacation for two to Hawaii, was won by Hien Ton, a University of Washington student born in Vietnam.

The Ananda Mela was supported in part by grants from 4Culture of King County and the Redmond Tourism Fund.