Grand Opening of Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Math Temple


HOUSTON: On July 13, the International Gaudiya Vedanta Society (IGVS) of Houston celebrated the grand opening of the new Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha temple with the installation of beautiful Deities of Sri Gaur Nitai, Sri Radha Govindaji and Sri Sita Rama Laxman Hanumanji. This Vedic educational and cultural center will be dedicated to the philosophy and practices of bhakti-yoga (yoga of devotion).  The design and construction of the new 15,000 square foot facility in the northwestern area of Houston was completed over an eighteen-month period and culminated with four days of festivities beginning on Thursday, July 11.

The inauguration of the center was marked by ceremonial rites, ecstatic bhajans & kirtans, and discourses by renowned practitioners of bhakti-yoga from all over the world. More than two thousand people from the Houston community attended the festivities throughout the four days.  In addition, the entire event was broadcast in real-time over the Internet and made available to a world-wide audience of several thousands.  Each evening, young students from the temple gurukula (Sunday school) performed plays depicting devotional stories. Local dance schools also presented beautiful dance performances.

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 In honor of the cultural milestone for the greater community, the Mayor of the City of Houston, Annise D. Parker, proclaimed Saturday, July 13 as “Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha Day.”  Additional tributes were given by the Indian Consul General Parvathaneni Harish and by representatives from other religious and cultural organizations throughout Houston, including BAPS, Meenakshi Temple, OCC, HWS, Sanatan Dharam Radio, Living Planet Foundation, and others.

The highlight of the four-day event was the installation ceremony for the presiding Deities of the temple:  Sri Radha-Govindaji. Sri Gaura-Nitai, and Sri Sita-Ram-Laksman-Hanuman.  The ceremony was conducted as per elaborate Gaudiya Vedic procedures and officiated by Sripad Madhav Maharaja and Sripad Van Maharaja. Before their unveiling, the exquisite four-foot white marble Deities from Jaipur, India were consecrated in milk, yogurt, sugar, honey, and ghee and then bathed in a collection of pure waters gathered from holy rivers throughout India.  These waters were carried to the temple in shiny copper pots by a procession of one hundred and fifty women devotees dressed in matching yellow and red saris.  For their first public appearance on the temple altar, the Deities were dressed in beautiful rose-colored outfits that were hand-crafted in Vrindavan, India.  They were worshiped with various paraphernalia, including incense, ghee lamps, flowers, and peacock fans, and were offered more than two hundred and fifty cooked preparations, including over one hundred varieties of sweets.

On the last day of the festivities, over one hundred families from the community participated in the performance of a sacred fire ceremony, for which twenty-eight elaborate fire pits were constructed on the premises. Priests chanted Vedic mantras in accompaniment to various offerings made to the sacrificial fire.

The final event of the inaugural celebration was a video tribute to the founder of the International Gaudiya Vedanta Society and initiator of the Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha project, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja, who was a world-renowned authority on the philosophy, culture, and practices of bhakti-yoga in the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition.  For over half a century, this intrepid spiritual leader and firm follower of the Vedic system of self-realization (sanatana-dharma) touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of spiritual aspirants around the globe. Starting at the advanced age of seventy-six years, he circled the planet more than thirty times from 1996 to 2010, giving enlivening discourses to rapt and appreciative audiences everywhere.

In line with Srila Narayana Maharaja’s broad vision for the Sri Govindaji Gaudiya Matha, the center is proceeding with plans to develop an on-site auditorium, school, library, restaurant, guest quarters, botanical gardens, and more.

All programs and events are open to everyone in the public. The temple will be open every day from 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM and several aartis and worship services will be carried out throughout the day. For further information visit or call (832) 464-4686.