International Journalists discover India in Trinidad
Divali celebrations are a few months away, but already the Festival of Lights has besotted foreigners. During a press trip organised and hosted by the Tourism Development Company (TDC) in late 2006, North American media had the opportunity to witness the well-preserved legacy of Indian culture in Trinidad and Tobago. As a result, many journalists found themselves captured by mysticism and eye-catching, cultural displays.
In the upcoming October 2007 issue of Islands Magazine, travel journalist Ted Stedman – who attended Divali festivities during the 2006 trip – writes about Trinidad and Tobago’s Indian community, its cuisine, dress, religion and culture, with a steady focus on Divali.
“It’s a heady scene – India incarnate,” writes Stedman. “Every aspect of Indian culture seems to exist here under the starry Caribbean night, including a congestion of humanity. We’re swept up in the gleeful throng of about 10,000 Divali devotees enjoying the cultural connection with their ancestral land.”
A 13-page spread recounts his experiences from Day One – Dhanteras (Wealth), Day Two – Narak Chaturdasi (Light and knowledge; Joy and laughter), and Day Three – Divali (Festival of Lights) of the celebrations. The article describes visits to the Chaguanas market, the famous Waterloo Temple, the Dattatreya Yoga Centre, the primarily Hindu village Penai, Divali Nagar, and the Northern Range – as the writer immerses himself in Trinidad’ss Divali. Traditionally, Divali is a five-day celebration. The actual day of Divali is celebrated on the third day, which is a public holiday for Trinbagonians.
Trinidad’s heart-warming culture is well depicted in the October issue of Islands Magazine, which also publishes dazzling photos of our people and sites. ‘Islands’ is one of the top travel magazines, and focuses entirely on islands as vacation destinations, while highlighting their culture. Articles are written with a personal touch, and readers are transported to the writer’ss personal experiences, intermingled with details about the location and its various dimensions. Vivid photographs and maps give the reader a better sense of the locations, and a desire to visit immediately.
“The TDC maintains a policy of hosting the international media throughout the year so that they can experience our culture, our people, and our energy, and share their experiences with the rest of the world,” says Dr James Hepple, President and Director of the TDC. “Islands Magazine has a huge, international readership and when you consider the breadth of its circulation, and the number of pages that they have dedicated to Trinidad, the promotional value of this feature alone is US$786,945.
“We’re really pleased with how Trinidad and Tobago has been depicted,” says Dr. Hepple. “It’s a genuine account of local Indian culture and heritage.”