‘Everybody’s enjoying it’: India Fest gets rave reviews in Halifax

India Fest is back in Halifax this year, much to the delight of the local Indian community.

The three-day festival features dance and musical performances, shops and food vendors, and will wrap up Sunday at the Halifax Forum Civic Centre.

“It’s amazing,” said Sudha Hemnani, owner of Khush Mizaj clothing.

“It’s finally so good to see that many people in person now because everything was virtual and people were hesitant coming out. But it’s so much fun… everybody’s enjoying it now.”

Her clothes will be on display in a special fashion show Saturday night.

Sudha Hemnani owns Khush Mizaj, a company that sells Indian clothing and accessories. (Victoria Welland/CBC)

Grishma Purohit and her friends are also getting ready to take the stage. Their dance troupe, Garba Queens, has 12 members. They practiced the Indian folk dance for months leading up to the festival.

“To be able to get a little bit closer to our culture in a different ambience here, it’s great for us,” Purohit said.

Vendors at the festival were selling jewelry, clothing and accessories. (Victoria Welland/CBC)

She said throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she missed rehearsing and performing with the group.

On the food and drink side of the festival, Shaiju Ellickal is cooking a traditional Indian dish called masala dosa. It consists of a fermented dough made of rice and lentils that is spread thin like a crêpe. Mashed potatoes and spices are added.

Shaiju Ellickal made masala dosa, a traditional Indian crêpe-like dish at the festival. (Victoria Welland/CBC)

“It contains more than 15 vegetables and Indian spices and herbs. It is really delicious,” Ellickal said.

He’s part of the Atlantic Hindu Society, selling masala dosa to raise money to build a traditional Hindu temple in Halifax.

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