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Memorable Moments From Past Events



Dec. 31th, 2006 (Castro Valley, CA) --

The New Year Eve 2007 party organized by Purna, Bibek, Kuku, Shelly and their team, was another well organized event by the Bay Area Oriya Community. Party committee thanks you, the community, for wonderful support before the party (organizing), during the party (maintaining) and after the party (clean-up).


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The Castro Valley Goshti and iGurukul are special mentions. iGurukul (formerly CHAOS) is a trend-setter. It is already creating a legend in the community by imbibing the India/Orissa culture into our kids. We were extremely proud to see our college going kids celebrating with their peers, parents and the community the New Year's Eve. The Castro Valley folks spent the entire day with us in taking care of the
Audio/Video/Lights and Clean-up.
What a team effort!!! Unity in diversity!!! Community interest remains at the top of the agenda for each of us, no matter what, and thus the community gets richer and more vibrant each day.
Many of you asked us about the FOOD. The dinner was catered from Cafe Dhaka in
Santa Clara.

The Bay Area Grand Party is over, and we welcomed the New Year 2007 with pomp
and grandeur

Bay Area New Year's Eve 2007 Party Committee


Feb. 4th, 2006 (Fremont, CA) --

It was so appropriate to welcome the new year with a prayer to Saraswati - the Goddess who bestows creativity, knowledge, all kinds of art and the power for those who worship her to be the supreme power on this planet.
It was a true community work and everyone across the bay area who attended the puja made it successful not just by doing their job well but actually enjoying it as part of the community to the max! I was impressed by the participation of the old, the new, the young and the kids.
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The decoration was modest but well co-ordinated. The Puja was well done and for the first time we think almost 90% of the people were in the hall when the puspanjali was offered. I'm not very sure but unlike previous years we didn't have to have a second or third pushpanjali for late comers. The hall was a little small but it provided a unique advantage of echoing the pushpanjali and the aarati in a way that mad everyone's heart melt or at least thawed a little bit with devotion. The cultural program was well organized with participation of kids and the youth. The music quiz was a new item that kept the audience enthralled until the end. Last but not the least, the food was really well done and simple that almost everyone liked. The presentation of the food was also very well done. All in all a very well done Saraswati Puja this year that was enjoyed by the whole community
So many people to thank who volunteered to make it successful - be it from Cupertino, Saratoga, San Jose, Fremont or any part of the bay area...
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 Thanks to all the dedicated volunteers and their hard work. - Tarun, as the tabla guru you have done a great job with our youngsters. We were very impressed watching our kids do so well. - Kuku, Gayatri, and Co. You are setting real example of inspiring our kids in learning various art forms, most important being the oriya language. To our knowledge, there is no such group anywhere in the world that has promoted our language so well. Hats off to you and to all the parents and our kids. - Priyadarshi, thanks for the drama by the kids. Very well done. We think its time the group should plan an evening on Orissa where our children can give such programs. Other Indian communities should be invited including the press, so that people will learn more about Orissa and its rich cultural heritage. We had done an event like that during early 1980's when the community was small. Maybe the Gurukul group should think of such a program around the Fall time this year. Just a thought.
From the organizing team, all we can say is Thank You! Thank You!...
The Saraswati Puja Organizing Team

July 9th, 2005 (Fremont, CA) -- Bay Area Ratha Yatra 2005click on the photo to see a bigger pic

Ratha Jathra among Oriyas' of Bay Area of California is the most important festival, observed with great devotion and enthusiasm. In the year 2005 Ratha Jathra and Bahudra Jathra were held on 8th, 9th and 16th July 2005, respectably.

Construction of Ratha or chariot- A brand new magnificent- looking chariot- was constructed in front of the residence of Subhas and Mamata in Fremont by skilled engineers like Sanjiv, Soma, Prasanna, Kashinath, Tushar, Kamal, Sapan, Surya, Manoj, Subhas, and Mamata, and many others with their family members. Sanjiv was the chief architect of the entire construction work of the chariot, which about 2 months. The 18-feet high, huge chariot was looking gorgeous with red and yellow silk cloth lining, studded with decorative colored flowers and ribbons.  While the chariot was under construction many Indians, Americans, Chinese, and people from other countries used to watch the constructions with enthusiasm and inquiring about the significance of Ratha Jathra.

The idols of Lord Jaganath, brother Balabhadra, and sister Subhadra were worshiped in Fremont Temple and Sunnyvale Temple on 8th July at 6pm. The Ratha Jathra was completed at Sunnyvale Temple in one day, and the festival in Fremont Temple lasted for two days i.e. 8th and 9th July. Lord Jaganath, Balabhadra and Subhadra were taken in procession called Pahandibize to the decorated chariot standing magnificently in front of the temple. After strong ropes were tied to the chariot, the chariot was dragged by 100s of devotees, who were chanting the glories of Lord Jaganath, Balabhadra and Subhadra and beating drums ghanti and other instruments.

The Bahudra Jathra was performed on the 16th of July 2005 at 6pm in Fremont Temple. The idols of Lord Jaganath, Balabhadra and Subhadra were worshipped inside the temple and then taken into the procession to the chariot (Pahandibize). After the idols were placed in their respective seats in the chariot, the chariot was pulled by the devotees in great enthusiasm by chanting the glory of God. Besides the devotees of Orissa many other people were involved in Ratha Jathra.

There are 2 albums - one contains the Hi-Res pictures and the other
contains video of the celebrations. It contains Dr. Mishraji's talk,
Shastriji's talk and the Rath Yatra celebrations. Do Check them all out and
May Lord Jagannatha bless you all,
Link to the pictures:
Link to the Video Section of the Rath Yatra
In addition to these there are updated pictures of the construction. Do
check them out too.
Link to the updated construction pictures

Jai Jagannatha Swami Ki....Jai

Dec 31st, 2004 (Castro Valley, CA) -- Bay Area New Year Eve 2004click on the photo to see a bigger pic

This Year party was undoubtedly the best New Year party we have ever organized.
The party started appropriately with a moment of silence for the tsunami victims. People had enough time of silence to reflect on the horror of the tsunami and praying for the dead and, resolving to help the tsunami victims, every which way they can. Many companies are matching contributions, people can contribute directly to some of the well known relief agencies or contribute through our own IASF (contact - Sudam Sahoo or Prasanna Samantray.)
To herald the New Year, the organizers - Castro Valley, Pleasant on etc. - had put a whole lot of effort to create an ambiance of festivity, cheerfulness and hope. Sanjib put a whole lot of personal equipment to use to create such environment. It was incredible.
People got some noise makers and other goodies, right at the time of registration, to herald the New Year with fun and fare later in the night. Next, they got to create a memento for the rest of their life by getting a digital photo of their family. The appetizer included Soup, Egg Rolls, Pakora etc. The idea of charging people nominally for alcoholic drink was very appropriate - people who don't drink didn't have to pay for others....also, having people to pay for drinks limited the amount of alcohol consumed...
Next, there were many dances, by our young ones in a friendly competition, that were well choreographed to Hindi pop music.
The dinner was a medley of diverse gastronomic preferences to suit the mood of the crowd - Italian, Chinese Mexican, and Indian. Some people stuck to the purity of a particular type of cuisine while others floated around like butterflies sampling from here and there...
Next, people counted the seconds to the arrival of New Year as the ball dropped in Madison Square that was projected on a screen.
Rest was a blur! Everyone got into the act, dancing, shouting, laughing, and repeating the refrain - "Happy New Year." Everyone danced to the music and joined the fun and frolic.
We didn't hear anyone who was not in praise for the event and the hard work of the organizers...
However, there were some who were more grateful that others - because they got a prize for one of the many competitions - Best dancing group for kids (Sanuja & Co), Second Best Dancing group for kids ( Erica & co), Third Best Dancing Group for Kids (Soumya & co), Best individual dance (Geetika), Best couple dance (Meera nani & co), Best dressed family (Rudra Kar & family), Best dressed person (Arundhati Mishara), and, Best dressed youth (Ishita.)
It was a New Year to remember for a long time. This year's organizers - Castro Valley, Pleasant on and beyond did a superb job in uplifting the mood of everyone. San Jose, Campbell, Almaden and Morgan Hill are slated to organize the next year's New Year eve. Good luck to them!!

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Sept. 18th, 2004 (San Jose, CA) -- Bay Area Ganesh Puja 2004

This year, Manoj Sahu led us, the organizing committee to a very successful Ganesh Puja. We were all awestruck by the participation. Our thanks to everyone in the bay area community, who became part of the puja event, in spite of another engagement many people had already on their calendars...
Personally, We were delighted to see the little kids sing Bhajans in Oriya and Sanskrit. It takes a lot for the kids to remember things in another language while being part of a predominantly English speaking environment. We hope we don't underestimate that.
The Giti Natya - Bhakta Prahallada - was really well orchestrated. We were simply impressed by the kids remembering so much of the dialogues while using some of the arcane words of Oriya...The special effects by Tarun was simply fantastic...
The crowd thinned down perceptibly toward the end when we went for several bouts of Quiz. However, We could see the intensity in the eyes of the diehards who remained specificlly for the quiz. I'm simply impressed by the knowledge of some of our very young kids. One of them is very notable - Sarthak Sahu (son of Sambit Sahu) - is a force to reckon with! He and his dad won the quiz contest but most of the answers came from Sarthak....He should become an inspiration to other kids...
Lastly, going on the stage to perform anything is really a fight against one self (our self-consiousness about not losing the perception others have about us) It was really great to see Manoj Panda, Niranjan Tripathy, Sadasiva Sahu, Priyadarshi, Rudra, Manoj Sahu, Suvendu, Sambit Sahu, Chidananda Khatua, Amlan, kids and many more who participated in the quiz and the audience who stayed to end to answer the questions that were not answered by the participants....It is not an easy thing to be on stage in front of your family and friends and make mistakes. It needs courage and guts....We salute the people who particiapted in the quiz!
We had awards for everyone. However, it was too late and we couldn't present the awards. Chitra Debnath spent a lot of time purchainsg the awards. She and the organizing comittee are going to make sure the awards are presented to all the participants and winners...stay tuned.
We don't need to thank everyone because it is our event and we are all part of it. However, I must let you know that the people who came from southern California were very impressed with the way we are able to function as a team without any formal organization....we must take pride in that!! Most of us have chosen to call what was a foreign land to us when we came here, our home. We may not realize it but, for our kids and future generations - this is the Home. So, let's make sure we do everything to make it easier and more friendly for them no matter where they live in USA!!


Feb. 21st, 2003 (Sunnyvale, CA) --

This year's Saraswati Puja was notable for some key improvements and changes - timeliness, decoration, audio quality and the young emcees (Sunny and Atasi.) Many attendees noted the improvement in quality of the cultural programs - the dances performed by kids were superb! click on the photo to see a bigger pic
For the first time, at least in my recollection, the Puja and Puspanjali started right on time and people were actually paying attention to puja and participated in Aarati, unlike the usual gossiping among people during Puja. The decoration of the stage beat all previous attempts. The timing of events adhered to planned schedule and the two young emcees really got the audience involved with the 'quiz' questions. The 'beauty pagent for men' certainly got a few laughs and 'entertained' people thoroughly.
The award certificates were of professional quality.
The organizing team made sure they installed the best equipment for audio. In spite of the poor accoustics of the hall, we could hear clearly at the back of the hall. Audio quality has been a problem ever since we started having cultural programs during Puja. Thanks to the organizing team for taking care of that. At least this time people stopped gossiping amongst themselves during the performances...click on the photo to see a bigger pic
On the minus side, we had the Saraswati puja way after the real Saraswati Puja day. This was primarily because of lack of an available hall of right size with right price and also, because this year Saraswati Puja was too close to our New Year celebration. Organizers of the next events - please note.
There are obviously many people to thank who took time off to plan and execute this event, so all of us could enjoy. Oury thanks to the organizing team and those who volunteered to make this a success.
This was one well done event! It's going to be challenging for the organizers of the next event, to say the least

Dec. 31st, 2003 (San Jose, CA) --

We have been celebrating new year for more than 20 years, but this one was the best", declared Anji Apa as the concluding remarks at our new year party. It was wonderful to hear this, at least for the organizers. However, the organizers do not make the party, the participants make the party a successful event. In fact, the restaurant owner, who's a punjabi, is so impressed with the odia people that he wouldclick on the photo to see a bigger pic provide his restaurant to us, but not to punjabi folks. Therefore, all the participants deserve a pat on their back. You came and enjoyed the party and showed what fine and classy people you are. Cheers  and a BIG Thank You  to all of you!
This New Year party took place after a gap of a few years and we tried a new format wherein we show up and enjoy thoroughly and then leave -- no cleanups to do or no volunteers to draft for the cleanup.  We also introduced a few new entertainment segments, such as the musical extravaganza by the O'Rhythmics Band, DJ and dance videos. The music band had woked the hardest and they deserve big round of applause from everyone. We'd like to thank all the singers and musicians including Binay, Anup, Tarun, Subrat, Prasad, Subhas, Mowgli, Sunny and Niranjan. The songs and the music was wonderful and  enjoyed by everyone. We'd like to thank Mitrada for doing a great job as the MC of this program.
During this new year party, the participants discovered that they could dance with their favorite actors and actresses. While the participants danced on the dancing floor, their stars  danced only a few feet away. This was made possible by the projection system of Sanjib. This seems to have added a new dimension to the New Year Party. Our sincere  thanks to Sanjib for arranging the video show. Our new DJ, Sunny had an excellent collection of dance numbers on his CD and everyone enjoyed dancing to his tunes. Good Job, Sunny! 
We'd also like to thank Paul, the restaurant owner for providing us with such yummy food and drinks. The Aloo Chop was specially prepared  in the eastern Indian style and lot of people liked it. The goat meat was procured from Bangla Bazaar to ensure the highest quality and freshness. He was also generous enough to declare the alcoholic drinks free after  he arrived at the party.
Finally, we'd like to thank all the organizers including Purna (our quick-action-hero), Prafulla, Prasanna Bhaina and Kamal who woked diligently to plan the event.
We apologize if we missed any names of people that worked towards the success of this event.
Happy New Year to all of you and we hope 2004 brings joy, happiness and prosperity to you and your family!

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Feb. 15th, 2003 (Sunnyvale, CA) -- Bay area Odias celebrated Saraswati Puja this year on Feb 15 (Saturday) at Hindu Temple, Sunnyvale. More than 200 Odias gathered at the Sunnyvale Temple to celebrate the Puja that was meticulously organized by Castro Valley/Plesanton 'Saahi'.

This year, the puja Pendal was on an elevated platform, with a firm structure made of wood that boasted a decorated gate with floodlights bringing out the shine of the backstage and the copper idol of Godess Saraswati seated with her fullest grandeur in the hallow of a well decorated 'medha'. The whole decor of the Pendal was very thoughtfully and creatively done keeping the purity of white motif. Thanks to our own Biswakarma, Sanjib Mohanty and the rest of the gang who, we’re told, worked hard the previous night late into the morning (about 3:00 AM) to put the finishing touches. Yet, they looked so fresh throughout the day! Was it the freshness of a desire to excel?

The organizers had kept all the good traditions of last year - well organized registration desk, name tags, mouth-watering lunch, snacks and hot tea, tables covered with white sheets, arranged chairs and an enjoyable cultural function ending with awards for the participants. Yet, they had taken it to the next level on each of these items. The food was cooked right there by Raja Sweets and people satisfied their growing appetite with extra helpings of food that was served hot.

They also introduced some new traditions - Chuda Ghasa as part of prasad, Khadi Chuan for toddlers, 'paana' after lunch, Puja program in a leaflet handed out during registration, and a professional quality decoration of the pendal !

The Puja was conducted with perfection and full devotion by our own purohit Debendra babu. Sarat babu and Biju Nani were our representatives for the Puja as 'Jajamana'.

The cultural function included bhajans, dances, two quality plays by the kids and ended with Mukavinaya (Dumb Charade) competition for adults (conducted by our ever enthusiastic host Twisampati Mitra), while the audience enjoyed the function munching on 'garam singadha'.


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Sept. 14th, 2002 (San Jose, CA) -- The Bay Area Oriyas celebrated Ganesh Puja on Saturday, Sept 14th. About 300 members of our growing community had gathered on a sunny and bright day at the Sherman Oaks Community Center in San Jose for the auspicious occasion. Puja was conducted by our Oriya Purohit, Shri Debendra Das Sharma. The Puja culminated in a Pushpanjali offering to the Goddess followed by Prasad. Soon afterwards everybody was treated with Priti Bhoj catered from a local vegetarian restaurant.

Then came the fun filled entertainment programe. It started with the ‘Jagannath Swami’ Odissi dance, choreographed by Shibani. It was a display of good team work of budding and seasoned Odissi dancers among the kids. A special thanks to Shibani and Suparna.

Twisampati wanted to wrap all the kid’s events with a common theme, a drama based on the story of a typical silicon valley couple. That is where the adult’s wanted to display some of their lost and forgotten talents. Monoj and Gayatri Joshi were the ideal couple to fit this slot and I had no other option but to do the supporting act with my partner Sushant Mohanty and the kids. The Music Teacher Subhas taught us to smile even living in the war ravaged Silicon Valley ‘Kanchi Abhijan’, directed by Anasuya Lall Mohanty with support from Mamta, Mona, Pupa, Seema, Vandanas (Nayak and Samantaray) and Japani could have been a strong contender for Oscar nominations for costume design.click on the photo to see a bigger pic

‘Ganesh GitiNatya’ directed by Kuku Das and her team (Mita Tripathy, Sasmita, Rekha, Kanti, Gayatri and Mita Maharana) certainly exceeded the expectations of the crowd. The little Ganesh won the heart of everyone.

Twisampati, Mallika, Chitra, Amlan, Sudam, Sadashiv and Manoj have set the expectations of the people high. It needs a lot of sweating to organize such an event. We have always felt that ‘Kid’s are the best teachers’. So we have to wait till the next Saraswati Puja, for our learning is incomplete and journey unfinished. A real memorable event. 

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January 1, 2001 (San Jose, CA) -- It was a cold December evening. But the warm hearted Odiyas of the Silicon Valley were ready to greet the New Millenium. So they rallied for the Annual New Year's Party with vim, vigour and vitality.

   The party started at the Moorpark Community Center at 7:30 P.M., with evening snacks and samosas. The Hall was well decorated and well equipped. There was a release of musical CD "Bhuli Hue Nahin" in memory of Late Mrs. Uttara Das, a prolific poet and wife of Mr Binay Das. Bui Nani and Mini Nani fondly reminisced their previous acquaintance with Mrs. Das and offered tributes to her departed soul. This function was followed by a Quiz & entertainment show, deftly conducted by Mr.Manoj Panda. The audience burnt ample grey cells to answer his posers related to Odisha. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the show. Now people were getting restive for the Dinner. Food was catered from a local Indian Restaurant and everybody had a sumptuous treat. But the real bash was yet to begin. Once the foot-tapping music came on the air, everybody started on their own pulsating dance styles. The younger ones were particularly at their gyrating best, giving the grown-ups a lesson or two on Bhangra !! In between, there was a brief celebration to toast the rollover to the new year. And then the revelry continued till the wee hours. Everybody had a gala time in the Party. The organisers had left no stones unturned to make it a memorable one for all. The new year couldn't have begun with a better note. < more photo>

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August 6, 2000 (Union City, CA) -- India Festival parade with the Orissa float proudly marching to the amazement of everyone! It won two awards - The Best Overall Float and The Best Decorated Float. The trophy and the plaque thrilled every proud Oriya present at the India Festival. Miss Universe, Lara Dutta handed the trophy with words like "that was the most beautiful float..". She was the grand marshall who lead the parade and was also a part of the judging panel for the best float.

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August 13, 2000 (Fremont, CA) -- The Orissa float won the first prize at the FIA-sponsored Indian Independence day parade held at Fremont, today, the 13th. August. Those of you who saw it realized that this was a more elaborate parade than last week, with more than 40 vehicles and 12 floats. Our competition was tough, what with the Bhangra dancers and the Punjab float, the well-decorated Gujarat and Rajasthan floats. The well-known film actor Devanand and actress Moon Moon Sen lead the parade.






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