New Year Day Celebration at MTS

By Vatsa Kumar
PEARLAND: The world celebrates New Year day in different ways. Sri Meenakshi Temple (MTS) greets its devotees, guests and invitees in a slightly different and unique way. After offering midnight religious offering as per Hindu rituals, the temple gets ready to receive its devotees the next early morning to late evening. Inclement weather did not deter hundreds of devotees that thronged the doors of the main temple as early as 8am.

Temple management had made excellent arrangements to receive these early birds with smiling faces and warm hearts. As the temperature did not raise over 40 degrees, most devotees spent more time inside the temple than outside. Special offerings to Vishnu (Balaji), Shiva and Meenakshi were available and many people had to stand in line for several hours to get a glimpse at the deities who were completely dressed up with jewelry and flowers. Several people brought their little ones to get blessed on this special day at the temple.

As the crowd started to get bigger and the parking lots got filled up, shuttle buses from the local school parking shuttled people back and forth to the temple. A few brave drivers who parked on wet pavement had to call towing companies to get their cars pulled out.

At the main temple there was brisk registration for annual and weekly pooja sponsorships.  In one of the corner shrines, many women were happy to buy bright color saris once worn by Sri Meenakshi. This is a very typical Hindu way.

At the Kalyana Mandapam (Wedding Hall) volunteers were waiting in line to sign up for Bone Morrow registration, a service provided to the local community. The lobby area was filled with beautiful paintings of Shiva, by the local artists from Houston and Sugar Land. Around noon and again at 5pm, Venkateshwara and Padmavathi and Meenakshi and Sundareswara were taken around the temple in a special Pallakku (palanquin), newly acquired by the temple. The uniqueness of this palanquin is that it is not on wheels, it has to be literally carried on the shoulders of able bodied men (about 16 to 20 of them).

Dance and music in the afternoon kept the audience occupied for several hours while sumptuous food was offered by local restaurants in the spacious tent installed at the back of the temple. Being a cold and rainy day, hot coffee and hot tea was the favorite drink and spicy aromatic food kept the crowd coming to the food tent. Families and friends exchanged good wishes and gifts in a very traditional way. An estimated 6000 people had visited the temple on New Year’s day.

To request a tour of the temple,  call temple administrator at 281-489- 0358 or visit www.wmeenakshi.org or drive down to 17130 McLean Road Pearland, TX 77584.

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