Indian culture is leaving its mark on Central New York, and in the Syracuse community. YNN's Sarah Blazonis has more on the inaugural New York India Festival.
NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- Music has served as a universal language and way of reaching out for Veena Chandra since she moved to the Albany area from India 27 years ago.
"The opportunity to share our art and music. People get more enthusiastic and motivated to do things," said Chandra.
Chandra and her son, Devesh, still perform today. They said their music isn't the only sign of the influence of the Indian community.
"It's grown quite a bit, to the point where now they show Bollywood movies in movie theaters on multiple screens," said Devesh.
The India Festival organized by Avantika Productions gave the community a chance to share the music, art and other aspects of the culture with the rest of Central New York.
One of the groups at the festival is dedicated to keeping that culture alive for the next generation. Officials with the India Community Religious and Cultural Center say at least 370 Indian families live in the Syracuse area.
"There's also people in academia, where the students at Syracuse University is growing huge. There's also jobs bringing people from India to work at different technical firms as engineers," said ICRCC President Pardeep Zirath.
The local community had reason to celebrate recently when local girl, Nina Davuluri, became the first Indian American woman crowned Miss America. However, some say the most notable thing about the title was her victory wasn't based on her heritage.
"That clearly shows that Indian origin people are in the melting pot. They're already melted and now rising to the top," said Ashvin Shah, secretary of the ICRCC.
Organizers aren't sure if the festival will become an annual event, but they have no doubt their cultural impact will continue to grow.