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Sri Guruvayurappan Temple (Sri Krishna Temple) Houston Celebrates Annual Festival

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By Biju Pillai

HOUSTON: Prathishta Anniversary Festival of Sri Guruvayurappan Temple is scheduled from April 30 through May 13, at 11620 Ormandy St., Houston.  Visitors may notice that the rituals practiced in this temple are unique to the temples of Kerala and somewhat different from other Hindu Temples which follow Agama Shastra. This traditional temple has established rituals under the close supervision of Thanthri Brahmasri Divakaran Nambuthiri.  The festival (Utsavam) formally will commence on May 4, evening with hoisting the flag ceremony at 8 pm. The word  ‘Utsava’  translates to remove of all sorrow and bring joy (  ‘Ut’ removal; ‘Sava’  means grief).

Sri Guruvayurappan Temple at Houston has gained the reputation both as a prominent place of Sri Krishna worship and as a center where several ancient temple art forms are presented. One would find that the annual utsavam (festival) incorporates several key elements of the traditions established at the ancient famous Guruvayoor Temple of Kerala, India.

During the 10 days of Utsavam, several priests will come together to conduct the rituals under the supervision of the Thanthri, Brahmasri Divakaran Nambuthiri. The devotees will get a chance to understand the significance of key rituals performed during the festival.  Devotees can also participate and sponsor special poojas during Utsavam.  

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Many attractions are included in this year’s festival. The outstanding percussionists of Pallavoor family (Sridharan and Sreekumar Marar) will present varieties of chenda melam all through the event. The distinct styles of melams include Chembada, Panchari, Thayambaka, Edakka vadyam etc. will capture your attention. Rendition of Ashtapadi   (Sanskrit Hymns from Gita Govinda, written in 12th century) as a tradition, especially in Sri Krishna Temple is melodious and enjoyable. You will experience the special divine ambience in this unique edifice as you listen to this.  

Another special feature of this year’s celebrations is the presentation of Kathakali (Saturday, May 6 at 8pm), the highly developed art form that was born and nurtured by the temples of Kerala. Naturally, themes of Kathakali are primarily extracted from Hindu mythology.   Kathakali is globally acclaimed as one of the best art forms and it takes years of training to perform on stage. Mohini Attam (will be performed on Friday May 12 at 8pm) is another art form mostly focused on themes pertinent to devotion and philosophical thinking. 

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The grand Carnatic music recital by Vidwan Sri Sankaran Nambuthiri will be one of the major attractions as a grand finale on Saturday, May 13 at 7pm. The auspicious ritual, Aarattu is on the final day of the festival (evening of May 13). Every evening throughout the 10 days of festival, prominent art schools of Greater Houston will present their best. 

During the festival period, Consulate General of India, Houston in association with the Sri Guruvayurappan Temple  of Houston would be organizing a one-day consular camp on Saturday, May 6  from 10 am  to 4 pm.

Special rituals include Kalashabhishekom, Sreebhoothabali, Udayasthamana pooja  and Utsava Bali. Udayasthamana Pooja is one of the most popular offerings at the famous Guruvayoor Temple in India (sponsorship requires early booking).

For more information please contact temple (713-729-8994) or  Shanmughan Valluli (President, 832-640-0614) / Vinod Vasudevan (festival coordinator, 832-528-6581).

For further details visit: www.guruvayurappanhouston.org

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