‘Flavor of India’ coming to Redmond: Sammamish-based organization helps produce Ananda Mela festival

During her six years on the Redmond Arts Commission, Latha Sambamurti cast wistful eyes on Seattle's many ethnic and cultural festivals and thought it would be great to bring "a flavor of India to the mainstream audience," right here in Redmond.

Wearing traditional Indian clothing and surrounded by colorful Indian dolls

Wearing traditional Indian clothing and surrounded by colorful Indian dolls

During her six years on the Redmond Arts Commission, Latha Sambamurti cast wistful eyes on Seattle’s many ethnic and cultural festivals and thought it would be great to bring “a flavor of India to the mainstream audience,” right here in Redmond.

Her wish will come true this summer, thanks to support from the City of Redmond’s arts administrator Mary Yelanjian and a non-profit organization with the expertise and willingness to produce the event, namely the Vedic Cultural Center (VCC) in Sammamish.

The VCC will present Ananda Mela, A Joyful Festival of India from noon-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 26-27 on the campus of Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St.

Community members of all ages are welcome to enjoy the free entertainment by local and world-famous performers of Indian music and dance. Headlining artists will be Delhi2Dublin, a high-energy, contemporary act which mixes rhythms of both India and Ireland and both traditional and electronic instruments.

Sambamurti, who just retired from chairing the Redmond Arts Commission and has served on the arts advisory committee for King County’s 4Culture, is the Main Stage coordinator for Ananda Mela. She first saw Delhi2Dublin at the Kirkland Performance Center and said the audience was up on its feet, dancing and clapping from the start of their show to the big finish. Delhi2Dublin will wow the crowds at Ananda Mela for more than two hours each night of the festival, “absolutely free of charge,” Sambamurti reiterated.

But there will be much, much more for festival goers to see and do at Ananda Mela, she promised.

“India is home to a wide variety of customs and languages and this variety will be reflected at Ananda Mela, which means ‘joyful festival,'” said Sambamurti.

Classical dance forms such as Kathak, Bharatnatym and Odissi will be showcased, as will lively folk and popular dance forms such as Bhangra and Bollywood. Percussion ensembles, instrumental ensembles and a major flute concert by Deepak Ram will also be included.

Magician Professor Bamboozle, balloon artists and a juggler will perform on a children’s stage. There will be rides for kids, henna booths, demonstrations of how to wear a sari, astrology booths and rangoli — making art designs with colored powder, said Sambamurti.

Yoga, meditation and educational displays will also be featured at Ananda Mela, such as exhibits about India’s history, architecture and tourist destinations.

And count on tasting lots and lots of authentic Indian food, said Sambamurti.

The VCC has hundreds of volunteers working on Ananda Mela and anticipates drawing as many as 15,000 to 20,000 guests to the festival. The center is dedicated to preserving and promoting Vedic values, especially among children and families.

“Vedic refers to a code of conduct, customs and traditions derived from ancient texts of India, known as Vedas,” Sambamurti explained.

While there are many people from India now living and working in Redmond and surrounding cities, Sambamurti emphasized that anyone and everyone, of any nationality, is invited to Ananda Mela. “We are building bridges, reaching out in friendship,” she noted, “and bringing revenue to Redmond. “Delhi2Dublin and other international performers will be staying in Redmond hotels. … What is best of all is that this is free and here in Redmond. You don’t have to go into Seattle. Parking is free in the city’s municipal garage. Bring the kids, bring all your friends,” Sambamurti coaxed.

Business sponsors are also invited to participate.

To learn more about Ananda Mela, A Joyful Festival of India, visit www.anandamela.org.

For information about the Vedic Cultural Center, 1420 228th Ave. SE in Sammamish, visit www.vedicculturalcenter.org.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum hybrid minivan
Car review: 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum hybrid minivan

By Larry Lark, contributor Minivans. They were at the top of the… Continue reading

2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport
Car review: 2021 Honda Ridgeline AWD Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor Honda’s Ridgeline is the perfect vehicle for anyone… Continue reading

2021 Genesis GV80 Prestige
Car review: 2021 Genesis GV80 Prestige

By Larry Lark, contributor Genesis is branching out. With the introduction of… Continue reading

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

By Larry Lark, contributor Residents of the PNW are no strangers to… Continue reading

2021 McLaren GT. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 McLaren GT

By Larry Lark, contributor I’m not sure words can do the 2021… Continue reading

2022 Kia Carnival SX. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2022 Kia Carnival SX

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s the way of the world. As old… Continue reading

Car review: 2021 Toyota Venza Limited
Car review: 2021 Toyota Venza Limited

By Larry Lark, contributor Many people are unfamiliar with Toyota’s Venza, but… Continue reading

Car review: 2021 Lexus LC 500
Car review: 2021 Lexus LC 500

By Larry Lark, contributor I can’t think of many more fun ways… Continue reading

2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE
Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE

By Larry Lark, contributor The mid-size 2021 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0T SE has… Continue reading

2022 Honda Civic Touring
Car review: 2022 Honda Civic Touring

By Larry Lark, contributor You’ve all heard and read the idiom attributed… Continue reading

2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited
Car review: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Limited

By Larry Lark, contributor Hyundai’s “horse” in the compact sports utility market… Continue reading