NEW YORK (TIP): For the first time in the history, the world-famous and most visited tourist spot Niagara Falls was illuminated with Indian tricolor thanks to Indian-American physicians of Rajasthan Medical Alumni Association of North America (RAJMAAI). The Silver Jubilee celebrations of RAJMAAI was held between Aug 14 and 17 at Hotel Marriot Gateway on the Falls in Ontario, Canada in which over 300 physicians and their families attended all over from the US.

Thanks to the efforts of the RAJMAAI, the Niagara Falls Parks Commission decided to illuminate the Falls with Indian Tri Color for 15 minutes on the night of India‘s Independence Day – August 15- perhaps for the first time in the history, according to RAJMAAI President Dr. Shashi Shah. “We deem it as a singular honor for our motherland as the world-famous Niagara Falls was illuminated so that tourists from the American and Canadian side could view this spectacular display.

Leaders of AAPI and RAJMAAI at the convention

Buildings may have been illuminated in the past to mark the occasion but this is the first time that the national pride of the US honored India with this gesture,” said Dr Ajay Lodha, vice president of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and RAJMAAI convention committee chair. The Indian Tricolor was illuminated vertically as the Parks Commission had no provision to illuminate vertically.

In 1997 and 1998, new fixtures replaced the outdated lamps and fixtures at the Illumination Tower, doubling the intensity of the lights on the Falls without doubling the hydro bills. Currently a total of twenty-one xenon lights, each with a 76-cm (30 in) diameter, are used to illuminate the Falls in a rainbow of colors. Eighteen are located at the Illumination Tower, beside the Queen Victoria Place and three are located below street level in the gorge opposite the American Falls.

Each of the xenon spotlights produces more than 390 million peak beam and has a brilliance of 250 million candlepower. The grand sponsor of the celebrations was Dr Samin Sharma, world-renowned cardiac surgeon of New York City. The physicians discussed how to pitch in help the State of Rajasthan in providing best medical care, opening and training of trauma centers across the state, continuing medical education programs, opening of book banks to name a few. Noted Bollywood singer Kailash Kher entertained the guests and authentic Rajasthani cuisine was served. Dr. Ravi Jahagirdhar, President of AAPI, Dr Ajeet Singhvi, Chair, Board of Trustees of AAPI, Dr Om Ganda and Prof. P.C.Dandiya attended the convention as honored guests.

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