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A Grand Traditional Festival at Sri Guruvayurappan Temple

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By Biju Pillai

HOUSTON: Flag hoisting ceremony for the annual festival of Sri Guruvayurappan Temple (Krishna temple), Houston was held on May 4, in presence hundreds of devotees. Deputy Consul General of India, RN Joshi was the Chief-guest for this auspicious inauguration ceremony.

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During the festival, many important Vedic rituals such as Kalasa pooja (Navakam Panchagavyam) and abhishekam were performed under the direction of Thantri (Chief priest) Brahmasri Divakaran Namboothiri. Cultural programs started on May 4th and continued until the 10th day of festival, May 13th. Numerous talented children participated and enriched the events every evening. Sri Guruvayurappan Temple at Houston has gained the reputation as a center where several ancient temple art forms are presented. The famous percussionists of Pallavoor family and accompanying artists performed varieties of chenda melam including Chembada, Keli Kottu, Panchari, Thayambaka, etc all through the event. The visitors enjoyed these distinct styles of melams.

Guru, Hiranyakashupu

Guru, Hiranyakashupu

The annual utsavam (festival) incorporated several key elements of the traditions established at the ancient famous Guruvayoor Temple of Kerala, India. Elegant classical dances, Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam were performed by various professional artists. Kathakali was a major attraction and special feature of this year’s celebrations. This highly developed art form was born and nurtured by the temples in Kerala. Kathakali remains one of the fascinating art forms in the world. A large number of devotees and visitors witnessed the performance of a great epic art, Prahlada Charitham Kathakali.

Auspicious Ritual, Utsav Bali.

Auspicious Ritual, Utsav Bali.

Attending Kodiettam (flag hoisting), Aarattu (holy bath) and Kodi-erakkam (dismounting the flag) is believed to be an important episode of the festival rituals. Annadanam (an offering of food) is considered a scared tradition which was sponsored by many devotees. The auspicious Utsavabali ritual was performed with coordination of several priests on Sunday May 7. The ritualistic Pallivetta (Royal hunt) was conducted on May 12 evening followed by reverberating chenda melam with procession. The festival culminated with Aarattu (holy bath) on May 13. Following the auspicious Aarattu ceremony and procession, the grand finale of the cultural program was held at 8 pm on Saturday, by renowned Carnatic musician and play back singer Vidwan Sri Sankaran Namboothiri.

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Several hundreds of devotees had dharshan on the final day of festival (Mahotsav) and went home with a bliss of joy. Despite the temple festival conclusion on May 13, the auspicious ritual continued on May 14 as the last Udayasthamana Pooja of 2017. Udyasthamana pooja is one of the most popular offering to Lord Sri Guruvayurappan required advanced booking. An outstanding Carnatic music recital is scheduled at temple hall on Sunday (May 21 at 4:30 pm) by the world famous Carnatic musician (Prince of Travancore Kingdom), Vidwan Prince Rama Varma and prominent accompanying artists Vidwan Avaneeswaram Vinu (Violin), Vidwan Trichy Harikumar (Mrindangam), Vidwan Dr. S. Karthick ( Ghatam).

Preparation of Kodierakkam, dismounting the flag.

Preparation of Kodierakkam, dismounting the flag.

This annual festival was a noble example of a meticulously organized event. Synchronization of cultural programs, auspicious rituals, traditional temple arts lead to a remarkable Mahotsav (grand festival). The event organizers and volunteers’ dedication and team work resulted in the grand success of this event.

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For more information please contact temple (713-729-8994). Or visit temple located at 11620 Ormandy St, Houston TX 77035. Email:pr@guruvayurappanhouston.org; Web:www.guruvayurappanhouston.org.

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