The streets of Cumming lit up with vibrant hues and energy as the Atlanta chapter of the Shivaji Maharaj International Family (SMIF) Foundation commemorated Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Jayanti with patriotic zeal. On March 2, 2024, more than 800 people gathered along Golden Avenue for a grand celebration, featuring a four-foot replica of the Raigad statue of the legendary king, accompanied by a flurry of activities, performances, and food stalls.

Now in its fifth year, the event welcomed distinguished guests such as GA State Representative Todd Jones and Deputy Consul General of India, Madan Kumar Ghildiyal. Attendees included local leaders like Cassandra Kirk, Chief Magistrate Judge, and Bob Erramilli from Johns Creek City Council.

The festivities kicked off with a lively procession honoring Shivaji Maharaj, featuring traditional Indian attire and folk dances like Lezim. Inside, the celebrations continued with ceremonial lamp lighting, tributes to Indian leaders, and a puja ceremony dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj, accompanied by cultural performances involving over 230 participants.

During his speech, Rep. Todd Jones commended the SMIF team and shared insights on leadership, while Shri. Ghildiyal emphasized the importance of Shivaji Maharaj’s legacy and praised SMIF for its community engagement efforts.

Monalisa Khandke, Founder & President of SMIF Atlanta, highlighted the organization’s global celebrations in 2024, aiming to preserve Shivaji Maharaj’s legacy internationally. Rahul Deshmukh, SMIF GA Coordinator, outlined various projects and initiatives, including SMIF University and the Leadership Center.

The event showcased a four-foot replica of Shivaji Maharaj’s statue, donated by SMIF Foundation two years ago, and featured an exhibition highlighting his engineering prowess. Varsha Patil, SMIF ATL Executive, shed light on the engineering skills of Shivaji Maharaj through a project display and quiz.

Shivaji Maharaj, known as the Father of the Indian Navy, was celebrated for his leadership, secular values, and support for women’s rights. His guerrilla warfare tactics and strategic acumen are legendary, culminating in his coronation as Chhatrapati in 1674.

The event received generous support from sponsors and collaborators, including Uptick Financial Services, American Hindu Coalition, and Sana Decor. Community organizations like Seva International and Ekal Vidyalaya were also recognized for their contributions.

In a heartfelt gesture, community heroes and leaders were honored for their service, and leadership awards were presented to individuals and groups for their outstanding community work.

Ankur Mali expressed gratitude to the organizing team for their efforts in bringing the community together and ensuring the event’s success. The Shivaji Maharaj International Family continues to inspire and promote the legacy of Shivaji Maharaj, embodying his values of leadership and community service.