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TATA Dasara Celebrations in Atlanta

From ‘Bonaalu to Baanalu’ – A Unique Dasara celebrations in Atlanta by Telangana American Telugu Association (T.A.T.A)

Where on the earth outside India could you imagine celebrating Dasara Festival with food cooked onsite by volunteers representing 10 districts of Telangana, Bonaalu with live Dappu (band), real Pothu raju, Jammi Chettu, Ravana Dahanam, Kolaatam coupled with awe-inspiring message by Deshapathi Srinivas Garu?

With the blessings of Dr. Pailla Malla Reddy Garu and a tag line of Telugu Kalala Thota, Telangana Sevala Kota Telangana American Telugu Association had a great launch on April 5th in the presence of Smt. Kalvakuntla Kavitha, M.P. Telangana state.

Well, Atlanta Telangana and Telugu people have witnessed this unique spectacular show during Telangana American Telugu Association (T.A.T.A.) Atlanta Dasara Sambaraalu held on Sunday 25 October in the sprawling 25-acre open grounds Skyland Business Center Cumming, GA showcasing various traditional festive events and a grand cultural program with guest singers from India. This event, attended by about 4000 people, was put together by a highly dedicated and passionate contingent of 200 T.A.T.A. Atlanta volunteers within a record four weeks. 

The event started with Inter-District Volleyball Competitions at 10:30 am followed by cook-out. By 12:30 pm hundreds of people flocked around food booths by 10 districts. A hard-to-find feast of nearly 100 varieties of authentic festive food items, ranging from rare authentic Telangana Sarvapindi, Pacchi Pulusu, Purnaalu to mutton curry, left the people licking their fingers for two long hours. Taati Kallu (palm wine) has overpowered all other ‘English’ drinks at the Cocktail stations. Someone fondly called it as ‘White Label’.

By 1:30 pm thousands of cheerful crowds filled the grounds. The on-stage cultural shows had mix of songs from different genres presented by Guest Singer Smt. Adarshini, Smt. Sharada Sai Bapatla (both from India), Ram Durvasula, Srinivas Durgam, Janardhan Pannela and several other local singers. A short but hilarious unique item by Mimicry Ramesh left the crowds cheering all the way. Dances by various top coordinators were received lot of applause. Two folk dances choreographed by Neelima Gaddamanugu Garu added a folk flavor. So did the item by the students of Jyothi Chintalapudi Garu. The signature item, Story of Mahishasura Mardini by Aparna Turaga was a real tribute to Goddess Durga. Later Deshapathi Srinivas Garu has delivered a powerful and inspiring talk in praise of Telangana culture, language and customs. He said people in Telangana exude affection inside out.

A highly energetic and invigorating Bonaalu procession with Ganesh Kasam as Pothuraju rocked the grounds for over one hour before it was offered to Goddess Pochamma. Thanks to Edukondalu Anandapu, Venkatesh Polu, model Pochamma temple was built on site which left everyone astonished. Another unique event was a district level parade of people hailing from 10 Telangana Districts. The evening ended with an electrifying grand show of Ravana Dahanam (effigy burning), an authentic Dasara tradition, Jammi Chettu pooja, Alai Balai followed by professional fireworks. One of the several stories says that on Dasara day Lord Rama killed Ravana. Three prominent people, title sponsor Narsimha Rao Tambarneni (IIT Workforce), President Jhansi Reddy garu and Narender Reddy garu have been chosen to release bows to do the Ravana Dahanam using simulated technology of lighting an Olympic torch.

As many as 27 sponsors were recognized on stage with plaques, shawls and bouquet. Notable amongst them were Narasimha Rao, the Title Sponsor of the event. Teams of all the Telugu community organizations, too, were recognized - ATA, Amruthavarshini, IFA, GATA, Maitri, NATA, NATS, TAMA, TANA and TDF. Guests of Honor ware Mr. D.V. Singh, Acting Consular General of India in Atlanta. 

Several leaders from National Team of T.A.T.A. from all part of the country - Jhansi Reddy, President, Haranath Policharla, Co-Chair, Advisory Board, Mohan Patlola, Member Advisory Board and Mahender Musuku, President-Elect, Ramesh, Ram Reddy Malladi, Venkat Mukkamala, Sathya Yallala, Appi Reddy, Govardhan Reddy Thokala were excited to be a part of these festivities. Bharat Madadi, Executive Director, Goutham Goli, Director and Treasurer, Dr. Sreenivas Gangasani, BoD, Dr. Satyanarayana Reddy Tangirala, BoD and Srinivas Avula Regional Vice President were among the local T.A.T.A. team who expressed their pride and joy of being the part of this almost-impossible and one-of-its-kind event. Many from the audience even said that they not seen such a mega event in their entire life both in India or the US. Five distinguished persons were felicitated recognizing their services to the community - Late G.S. Reddy, Narender Reddy, Pramod Sajja, Satish Alapati and Dr. Sujatha Reddy. 

T.A.T.A. had expressed their ecstasy in announcing Deshapathi Srinivas Garu as Cultural Ambassador for the organization, and he had graciously accepted the same.

Finally the efforts of Goutham Goli and Srini Avula, the persons who steered several teams relentlessly for over two months were applauded by the National Team and was recognized aptly. Goutham, who looked visibly modest, gave the due credit to all the teams.

Regional Coordinators Aravind Polasa, Chandrasekhar Palla, Madhava R Kusam, Shekar Putta, Vijay Sankaramaddi, other notable Local Team includes Sunil Kuturu, Dilip Tunki, Sridhar Konkala, Raghu Goverdhana, Ramakrishna Chinta, Ramana Dodla, Shankar Gandra, Ramu Parupalli, Pradeep Reddy Mudupa, Srini Peddi, Rajesh Vaddi, Rani Vakiti, Shalini Vulupala, Prashant Paripati, Ramki Dasari, Pardha Kudumoori, Sreeni Lokasani, Raghu Gandra, Sunil Savili, Rahul Chikyala, satyavathi, Sudhir Urella, Raj Kasireddy, Ajay Gupta Kiran Manchikanti, Prabhakar Putta, Anil Boddireddy, Amischi Vaishnav, Vishnu Reddy, Sai Ravula, Jai Chinta, Vasudha Chada, Sunitha Pillala, Sandeep Namireddy, Krishna Vemulapalli,  and about 200 volunteers.

T.A.T.A. appreciates efforts of Kishore Mallachervu, Standing Committee Media Co-Chair who spread the word out through every possible media. 

T.A.T.A. Team has thanked Vakiti Creations for Photo & Video, Divinity AV for Audio and Suresh Sajja for the venue. The stage show was put together and managed by Viju Chiluveru along with Shanker Gandra. The MCs of the event were Swapna Katta and Madhurima Charugundla. Indu Priya, Shaker Gandra and Dilip Tunki provided backstage help.

Report compiled by Viju Chiluveru

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