Dancers from the Sher-E-Punjab dance group entertain diners in d’Arcy Doyle Place on Monday night. The area became an outdoor Indian restaurant as Ipswich’s Indian community celebrated the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali.
Dancers from the Sher-E-Punjab dance group entertain diners in d’Arcy Doyle Place on Monday night. The area became an outdoor Indian restaurant as Ipswich’s Indian community celebrated the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. Claudia Baxter

Community embraces Diwali festival

IPSWICH'S first Diwali festival was a great success, with more than 300 people celebrating the Festival of Lights and raising money for local causes.

Indian Mehfil owner and festival organiser Rajesh Sharma was overwhelmed at the success of Monday night's festival.

"All in all, it was a fantastic night," Mr Sharma said.

"It went extremely well, we had more people than we expected would attend."

Mr Sharma said the festival's vibrant cultural atmosphere was embraced by all.

"Everyone enjoyed the henna tattoos, Bollywood dancers, music, bread-making demonstration and buffet," Mr Sharma said.

Proceeds will be donated to Diabetes Australia's Queensland division and the Ipswich Central District Cricket juniors program.

"We're still doing calculations, but about $5000 will be shared between the causes," he said.

Promoting diabetes awareness and treatment is a priority for Mr Sharma, who is a sufferer.

An avid cricket fan, Mr Sharma said funds would also be donated to the local juniors cricket program, to support their trip to India in December.

Mr Sharma said he looked forward to hosting future Diwali festivals.

"It was great to be able to give something back to the local community, to be able to hold a celebration and also to donate money, and we're definitely keen to continue it next year" he said.

Diwali is celebrated on the new moon night between mid-October and mid-November, to mark the return of the god Rama.



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