Manchester gets the Bollywood treatment on Saturday 14 October, as Dashehra Diwali Mela returns with a bang
Coupling the Hindu festivals of Dashehra - which commemorates the killing of the ten-headed demon King Ravan by Lord Ram - and Diwali ‘Festival of Lights’, Dashehra Diwali Mela is essentially a double celebration. Little wonder it’s such a spectacle.
Organised by the Indian Association Manchester organisation, the magical event returns to its annual Albert Square home this month: promising an action-packed afternoon of food, live music, crafts and dance that’s free for all the family. Starting at 2pm, the event finishes at 9pm with a stunning firework finale.
With live performances across two stages, this year’s line-up includes Global Grooves, Bollywood Brass Band, Channi Singh OBE and Mona Singh, Nachda Sansaar Bhangra dancers, Annapurna Indian Dance Company, Explosive Band Baja, BrotherHood Punjabi singers and many more.
Elsewhere, visitors can browse authentic Indian food, clothes and jewellery - as well as accessories for Diwali - and there’ll be arts and crafts workshops for children and adults alike.
At dusk, around 7pm, 200 children from across Greater Manchester will set off from Central Library, parading lanterns made during school workshops - spanning tiger puppets to giant cranes and the Hindu deities of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - accompanied by Rainbow dancers and Global Grooves Desi Carnival. For anyone who wants to join in the procession, Central Library will be hosting Saturday lantern workshops on both 7 and 14 October (11am to 1.30pm, and 2pm to 4pm).
As ever, proceedings culminate in a spectacular finale, courtesy of outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank - whose portfolio spans Manchester Day to Pride. Named ‘A Blessing From Durga’, the show takes its inspiration from Indian mythology and promises a multi-sensory, immersive theatrical performance compete with live dramatic text, music, lights, puppetry and pyrotechnics.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Manchester city Council's Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, said: “This promises to be a colourful, exciting and free event for all to enjoy - regardless of age, culture or background. There is always a fantastic atmosphere as different communities from across the city celebrate together.”