Indian festival lights up Canberra’s streets

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“CityNews” visits Canberra businesses offering a taste of the Indian culture in the lead up to the upcoming festival, Diwali. This is a sponsored post.

KEEP an eye out for houses decorated with candles and lights this October to early November, when the Indian celebration Diwali, the festival of lights, brightens up Canberra streets. 

Traditionally it sees Hindus, Sikhs and Jains attending luminescent displays, prayers and events in appreciation of a triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. 

Light is a metaphor for knowledge and consciousness and is used during the celebration to illuminate temples, homes, shops and office buildings. 

One Sunday, October 20, Civic Square will be bright with lights from 2pm to 8pm, for a free, outdoor celebration full of entertainment, food and the opportunity to learn and share from other cultures. 

But until then, “CityNews” visits Canberra businesses offering a taste of the Indian culture in the lead up to the upcoming festival.

Dinner shines a light on Diwali 

THE Indian festival of Diwali will be illuminating the streets this month, and Lucky Prasad, director of the Canberra India Council, wants the celebration to reach everyone in Canberra.

“We want people here to know that Diwali is on and how we celebrate,” he says.

“Diwali is the festival of lights, a very traditional celebration where people will start the day by showering, applying oils, wearing new clothes and exchanging sweets, savouries, nuts, fruits and baskets of food with neighbours, friends and families.

“At the end of the day there’s fireworks, music and dancing, it’s a very noisy festival!”

The Canberra India Council (CIC) was founded in 2010 to promote appreciation of Indian and Australian cultures and values. 

On Saturday, October 26, the council will host a Diwali gala dinner called “A Night to Shine” at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra, which will include a three-course dinner, and a Bollywood and Hollywood themed dance floor.

“We want to showcase how we light up our homes with lamps, candles and fairy lights,” Lucky says. 

“We want to celebrate this here in Canberra so people know how it’s done at home.”

“A Night to Shine” Diwali gala dinner, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, 6pm, Saturday, October 26. Book at eventickets.com.au or email info@canberraindiacouncil.org

Indian dishes served with a modern twist

CELEBRATIONS of Diwali at Blu Ginger Indian Restaurant won’t just be a spectacle of oil-burning bowls and crafted lanterns, but also of food, says owner Reddy Manne.

“We cook with the same love and passion that customers would in their home, if they had time,” he says. 

With more than 28 years’ experience, Hari Prasad Sharma, the chef at Blu Ginger Indian Restaurant, draws upon the many culinary regions of India to create a modern and authentic menu, one that reflects the cosmopolitan India of today.

“At Blu Ginger we use only the freshest, locally sourced produce, combined with authentic spices [which are] imported directly from the sub-continent to offer classic, traditional recipes with a modern twist, to create a unique and memorable dining experience for you,” Reddy says.

“Our service always comes with a smile and we listen to the needs of our customers and offer vegan, gluten free and coeliac options.”

Located in a large, open-plan space along Genge Street, Civic, Blu Ginger’s high ceilings and edgy decor add character to the dining experience and will make this year’s Diwali festival one to remember, says Reddy. 

Blu Ginger Indian Restaurant, 5 Genge Street, Civic. Call 6247 2228 or visit bluginger.com.au

The Manuka ‘jewel’ that keeps shining

FOR more than 25 years, Jewel of India in Manuka has continually provided its guests with quality food and a great service, says owner Shonan Ruzario.

“We’ve always been consistent and we always raise the bar,” he says. 

“More than 25 years down the track and people are still coming to eat here, even if they’re visiting from Melbourne or Sydney.

“And it’s because we put passion into the food, giving people the best food in Australia.”

This transfers over to TripAdvisor too, where Jewel of India is ranked at number 17 for restaurants in Canberra, says Shonan. 

Inspired by the kitchens of the maharajas and nizams, Shonan says their curries are always a popular choice amongst the guests but with fresh ingredients and a passion for food, he would say all dishes are a must-have.

“We provide a welcoming service and make sure everyone leaves with a smile on their face,” he says.

“We take into account meal requests and will happily take requests for any drinks which aren’t on the menu.

“We also do catering for weddings and occasions and we do delivery and pick up orders as well.”Jewel of India, Level 1, 11 Bougainville Street, Manuka. Call 6295 7037, email contact@jewelofindia.com.au or visit jewelofindia.com.au

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