San Diego Indian American Society Hosts Festival of Lights

San Diego Indian American Societypic
San Diego Indian American Society
Image: sdias.info

A longtime presence in the West Coast hotel business, Pinnacle Hotels USA founder Bharat Lall oversees properties such as Marriott Riverside and the Hyatt Regency North Dallas. Active in his community, Bharat Lall is a lifetime member of the San Diego Indian American Society, an organization that provides annual college scholarships to high school students.

Each October over the past decade, the nonprofit has also been active in sponsoring the Festival of Lights in Balboa Park, California. Initially envisioned as a modest celebration, the annual event now attracts thousands of participants in Diwali celebrations that traditionally involve the lighting of lamps and setting off of fireworks.

In Hindu culture, the lights represent the victory of reason and virtue over negative forces, represented by the night. A symbol of Agni (fire) and Surya (the sun), the lamp celebrates the eternal life force, which carries individual prayers to God. This also takes form in Indian philosophy in the concept of the soul as a “self-lighted torch,” and the flames have an association with one’s “supreme self.”

Advertisements

San Diego’s Cosmopolitan, Historic Gaslamp Quarter

Gaslamp Quarter pic
Gaslamp Quarter
Image: gaslamp.org

As head of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall guides a company that maintains a portfolio of select hospitality properties across states from California to Texas. Bharat Lall’s collection of premier hotels includes the Four Points By Sheraton San Diego Downtown, which is situated just a few minutes’ walk from local highlights such as the Little Italy, Balboa Park, and the convention-friendly San Diego Concourse.

The hotel is also in the vicinity of the compact Gaslamp Quarter, which spans 16 historic blocks and features a combination of cultural offerings, from museums and symphonic venues to nightlife and dining. Carefully renovated buildings from the Victorian era mingle seamlessly with modern office buildings that feature rooftop gardens and views of the city skyline and Pacific Ocean.

Serviced by trolley lines, the Gaslamp Quarter centers around Horton Plaza, a multi-level outdoor mall that features many boutiques. Arts are the focal point in galleries such as Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts, which inhabits the historic Brunswick Building. In 2017, the Gaslamp Museum brought attention to the neighborhood’s 150th anniversary through the exhibit Alonzo Horton: The Sesquicentennial of the Founding of New Town San Diego.

San Diego’s 10th Annual Diwali Festival of Lights Celebration

San Diego Indian American Societypic
San Diego Indian American Society
Image: sdias.info

An Indian American entrepreneur living in San Diego, Bharat Lall leads Pinnacle Hotels USA as president and CEO. Apart from work, Bharat Lall is an active member of the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS), which seeks to contribute to society through the provision of scholarships and educational symposiums.

In addition to its work in the area of education, SDIAS hosts a variety of cultural events and is preparing for its 10th annual Diwali Festival of Lights celebration. The citywide festival is scheduled to take place on October 14, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion. In India, the five-day Hindu holiday of Diwali is the most important celebration of the year. With roots as a harvest festival and a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, it has become a national holiday, observed by all Indians regardless of their religion.

SDIAS organizes the San Diego Festival of Lights celebration in conjunction with a number of partners. Elements of the festival include an exhibit of 3- to 8-foot-tall lamps representative of India’s diverse regions and religions, as well as henna artists, dances from different Indian states, and regional Indian food. The festival ends with a procession of 1,008 lights and a Punjabi dance party.

The event typically draws more than 11,000 attendees throughout the day.

The San Diego Public Library’s I CAN! Center

San Diego Public Library pic
San Diego Public Library
Image: sandiego.gov

The founder, president, and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall focuses on locating, acquiring, and regenerating underperforming hotels throughout the United States. A San Diego resident, Bharat Lall supports numerous city initiatives and entities, including the San Diego Public Library (SDPL).

In an effort to provide services that are accessible to those with disabilities, the SDPL created the I CAN! Center. Located on the central library’s first floor, the I CAN! Center offers a range of programs, services, resources, and professional help so people with disabilities can use the library in a comfortable environment.

Equipped with 16 computers, each with enlarged screens and assistive software, the I CAN! Center also hosts two private study areas. Moreover, it features not just a number of large print and Braille books, but also e-readers and digital talking books.

Service animals are welcome at the I CAN! Center, which also operates a free library-by-mail service for people with significant visual impairments that prevent them from traveling to the library.

The Four Points by Sheraton in San Diego, California

 

SDSU Climbs in U.S. News and World Report College Rankings

 

San Diego State University (SDSU)
San Diego State University (SDSU)

Bharat Lall serves as the president and CEO of San Diego, California-based Pinnacle Hotels USA. Outside of his work, Bharat Lall supports a number of local institutions, including San Diego State University (SDSU).

U.S. News and World Report placed SDSU at No. 74 among public universities in its latest rankings of colleges in the United States. As reported by the SDSU NewsCenter on September 13, 2016, the report also put the school at No. 146 among all universities (public and private). This ranking reflects an upward shift of 37 spots since 2011, when SDSU came in at No. 183 overall.

The U.S. News and World Report issue also highlighted a few of SDSU’s more successful programs, including its international business program and the overall undergraduate business program, which earned spots at Nos. 14 and 77, respectively. Further, SDSU claimed a spot among the top 20 national schools for students incurring the least amount of student debt.

San Diego Indian American Society’s Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship Program

San Diego Indian American Society pic
San Diego Indian American Society
Image: sdias.org

Before Bharat Lall became president of Pinnacle Hotels, USA, he once worked as one of the staff at a motel. Today, Bharat Lall is a known figure in the hospitality industry. He is also an active member of the San Diego Indian American Society.

The San Diego Indian American Society was established in 1984, and one of its first projects was the Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship program. Named after the Indian political leader, the scholarship program is awarded to students who exemplify academic excellence and active community involvement. Most past recipients have had a 4.0 general grade point average, and were nominated by their respective schools. The scholarship is given to deserving candidates irrespective of their race or ethnic origin.

To date, the San Diego Indian American Society has awarded scholarships to 350 students at the secondary level. These students were also given cash awards, funded through trust-fund interests and contributions of the Indian American community.