The Indian-Americans in New York and neighbouring states kicked off the week-long grand celebrations of the 60th Independence Day with parades, cultural programmes and exhibitions depicting the country's heritage.
The celebrations will culminate in the main parade in New York City next Sunday which is expected to be attended by thousands of people, including top city officials and a galaxy of Bollywood stars as also artistes.
Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar was the grand marshal of the parade in Iselin in New Jersey on Sunday organised by the Indian Business Association (IBA) which represents dozens of Indian-American business establishments on the Oak Tree Road, called "little India".
The parade was joined by several local political leaders and Bollywood fashion Designer Manish Malhotra.
About 20 floats showcased India's cultural heritage and the economic progress that the country is making. Air India, Jet Airways -- which is just entering the American market -- and Dish and Direct television networks which carry dozens of Indians channels, also brought out their tableaux.
Air India advocated advantages of its direct flight while Jet Airways stressed on its "comfortable" seating arrangement and quality of its service which it says is of world class.
A cultural show, which included popular and classical dances, attracted around 5,000 people who braved the hot sun to see and applaud the participants.