Almost every weekend, the former Radisson Hotel becomes a little India, a buffet of Bollywood, Hindu and Muslim music, vibrant saris and savory curries.
On a Sunday last month, about 5,000 Indo Americans of different faiths and regions poured into the Sacramento hotel’s grand ballroom to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the subcontinent’s independence from Great Britain.
The previous night, 550 guests attended a Punjabi wedding there. On Aug. 26, hundreds of young women and their sisters, aunts, mothers and fiancés toured the South Asian Bridal Show. They touched the finery, enjoyed the dance and fashion show, and scoped out the DJs, caterers and photographers.
“Before, there was nothing like this in Sacramento,” said the businessman behind the hotel’s cultural transformation, Kumar Sharma, who bought it in February for $5 million and had it blessed by his Hindu priest.
“I wanted to let our multicultural community know that this is their hotel,” said Sharma, who came to the United States from India 24 years ago with $42 and an agricultural worker’s visa.
Sharma, 53, found one of his first American jobs in the vineyards of Napa. He worked his way up through Sacramento mini-marts, liquor stores and food markets, first as a clerk, then as an owner. His hotel empire now includes seven properties.
He’s turned the former Radisson on Highway 160 into a gathering place
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