Question: What can convince Karen to get a train for over an hour?
Answer: The promise of decent Masala Dosa.
So when we found out about the Parramasala Indian Culture Festival we decided to go check it out. Held in Parramatta (the clue is in the name!) and celebrating it’s fifth anniversary this is a huge celebration of everything Indian – spicy exotic food, colourful outfits and costumes, catchy Indian sounds and fun for all the family.
We got to Parramatta and had a short walk through the town to get to all the action. On our way we passed St. John’s Cathedral and the nicely refurbished Church Street. This led onto Eat Street and the randomly named Lovers Market.
Like everything in Australia the locals have shortened Parramatta’s name to ‘Parra’, but there is nothing short about this place. Not only is it the oldest inland settlement in all of Australia but it’s home to the 6th largest CBD today and supports a thriving Indian ex-pat community – hence the festival.
Ironically it was originally named Rose Hill, after the politician George Rose before being renamed Parramatta (“head of waters” or “eel waters”).
So onto Parramasala. Anchored off the Riverside Theatre this was quite a large festival. We immediately concentrated on the food and boy were we excited.
John spotted a stand selling some Momos. For those of you that do not know, Momos is the emergency food of trekkers in Nepal, that and Dhal Bhat!. Whenever we were unsure of what to order there were always Momos to be had. There were also some of the snacks that we had on a rooftop in Mumbai all those many months ago as part of Ollie & Neem’s wedding celebrations. . As we were queueing for food one of the ‘do-well brigade’ shouted out to one of her colleagues
“Melanie, you must try these Sam-ooo-sas! They are amazing” – That’s not a spelling mistake the extra oo’s were pronounced!
But this was all appetizer-stuff. The real dish was scouted out and ordered.
And then before you could say ‘Bahuta svādiṣṭa’…
Filled with spicy goodness we went wandering around the rest of the festival and took some photos…
All sorts of with vividly colored clothing and people shouting “Chai Garam, Chai Garam”, immediately transported us back to the trains of India.
As Karen went in search of some ‘featured images’ John’s artistic side came out and he joined in on the community art project – painting by numbers.
There was literally tons of things going on so to wrap up we will talk about two more events. The first is very Indian – Cricket. The Cricket World Cup is on in Australia next year so to mark this countdown the World Cup itself was on display.
And lastly what sort of festival would this be without live music and dancing…