HMM Ganesh Festival 2017

HMM Committee

HMM Committee

By Amey Wakde

HOUSTON: Houston Marathi Mandal (HMM) celebrated the most awaited Ganesh Festival at VPSS Haveli on September 9th, 2017. More than 720 devotees dressed in colorful traditional Indian attire attended the event to immerse themselves into a celebration of a new beginning through display of art and culture, song and dance. HMM celebrates Ganesh Festival on an annual basis and this year was even more important for the Houston community that had just witnessed the wrath of nature. The community utilized the power of collective consciousness and prayed together to Lord Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacle (Vighnaharta) and the God of Beginnings, urging him to restore prosperity and allow people to create a new happy chapter in their life. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Dhol Tasha Pathak

Dhol Tasha Pathak

The celebration started at 4PM with an ornate palanquin procession shouldered by two devotees and accompanied by drummers who played percussion instruments, Dhol and Tasha. Devotees, that also included the young enthusiasts, accompanied the procession with their beautiful Lezim dance. As we entered the event hall one could see the beautiful decoration of mountains that resembled the Mansarovar; under which the Ganesh idol was placed. Hats off to Trupti Nag for her wonderful contribution in making the abode for the festive idol. Once the devotees gathered inside the hall, people paid their respect to both the nations by singing the US and Indian national anthems. Mandar Phadke gave a welcome speech and the HMM President, Anjou Sathe-Keller, provided updates on the past and upcoming events. Anjou also shared details on HMM collaboration with the non-profit organization – Sewa International; an organization that focuses on disaster recovery and rehabilitation (https://www.sewausa.org/chapter/houston/houston-overview). Gitesh Desai, President of Sewa-Houston talked about Harvey efforts. Certificates of honor were offered to the students from the Marathi school, the directors of the program Dipti Kanhere and Kalpana Sarode, Dhol-Tasha leads Anukool Damle and Swapnil Saraf and comparers Mandar Phadke and Achala Bapat.

Cypress Kids

Cypress Kids

The most awaited dance performances were presented by 100 volunteers including kids and adults, based on the themes of Maharashtrian folk dances. The preparation for the cultural event started months ago and many of the traditional clothes and jewelry were ordered from India. The cultural event called “Maharashtrachi Lokdhara” was organized by Dipti Kanhere and Kalpana Sarode. Kudos to the cultural committee that created these wonderful memories for us.

Katy Kids

Katy Kids

Kids gathered on the stage to chant the powerful hymn of Atharvasheersha. The entire audience stood up to sing Aarti with representatives from all towns around Houston on stage – the blend of sounds and synchronization was so beautiful that it allowed you the space to go on a journey within. The prayers were concluded with a roar of “Ganapati Bappa Morya” by everyone followed by another round of palanquin procession and an even grander Lezim and Percussion instruments procession that went on for more than 30 minutes. It was a mesmerizing and immersive experience that coalesced the chaos of the mind into harmonic order as if to achieve higher energy that became evident from the rhythmic nods, taps, and claps of the people listening around. The minds were further stimulated by the delicacies of Maharashtra such as Modak and Shreekhanda that were offered at the dinner.

The event was indeed memorable. It always encourages the new Houston families who get knitted into this larger Marathi family, to participate and contribute in these events that require enormous amount of dedication and energy. The entire HMM community congratulates the committee members for a yet another fantastic successful event.

The next HMM event “Sur Niragas Ho” by India’s National award-winning vocalist Mahesh Kale is scheduled on 23rd September 2017, 5 pm at University of Houston. Visit http://www.hmmhouston.org for more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.