Inside the world’s largest India Day Parade in New York

India Day Parade
Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty was the Grand Marshal at the India Day Parade held in New York on August 18, 2019.. Photo Credit : Paresh Gandhi / FIA

Bollywood star Suniel Shetty was the grand marshal at the event.

Indians do take their celebrations seriously. And when it comes to the Independence Day, the biggest patriotic event that all of the country celebrates together, on August 15 every year, the celebrations are held not just in India but across the world. As the Indian diaspora across countries and continents makes it a point to be part of celebrations that pay homage to their roots and ethnicity.

But around the month of August, if you are in New York City, then you can witness the world’s largest India Day Parade, right here in the heart of Manhattan. Those who have attended the event vouch that it is an experience of a lifetime as you get to see a smattering of culture and colors in New York bringing India alive.

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This year marked the 73rd year of India’s independence, and on August 18. this past Sunday, the India Day Parade was held with great pomp, show and desi spirit. The colorful procession each year walks down from Madison Square Avenue to Madison Square Park. While the parade runs from Madison Avenue, from 38th Street to 25th Street, there is also a festival that is held between streets 25 and 27.

As you witness the parade, you will be bamboozled with the sight of orange, white and green flags everywhere. There would also be brightly colored saris, dancers and the quintessential Indian snacks – dosas and samosas sold by vendors.

This year, the parade had floats from Air India, the national airline carrier of India, there were also father of India Mahatma Gandhi lookalike parading the route along with a variety of Indian dance performances.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) Desi Society was also a part of the parade. Grand Marshal Suniel Shetty, a popular Bollywood actor, was seen along with his wife Mana Shetty. Other Bollywood actors to grace the event were Gulshan Grover and Hina Khan.

The cultural festivities continued till 6 pm in the evening. As the crowds began dispersing toward late evening, there was more than the hint of crisp fried snacks in the air. For a day, right here in New York, the spirit of Indian nationalism seemed so strong that one could not miss it.

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