Grand Diwali and Govardhan Puja Celebrated at ISKCON


By Ravinder Yerram                      

HOUSTON: ISKCON of Houston, Hare Krishna Dham witnessed grand celebrations of Diwali and Govardhan Puja (New Year) during the past weekends. Festivities for Diwali began last Sunday and more than 1,000 guests started streaming in for the occasion to celebrate Diwali – Lord Ram’s arrival after conquering the evil. The temple premises looked very festive and lively with splendid floral decorations. Main altar was decorated with 100s of diyas (lamps) and glittering crystal curtains forming a backdrop for the deities of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Sri Sri Radha Nilamadhava and Sri Giriraj Govardhan, adorned in the finest purple and yellow colored outfits. The program embarked on the perfect note with ecstatic kirtan by HG RamaGiridhari Das and local youth group. An insightful and informative talk was given by Her Grace Urmila Devi Dasi  (Dr. Edith Best,  Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership) on the significance of the Diwali and lights with pastimes of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna and set in a divine atmosphere for the evening. Devotees eagerly waiting in a tightly packed temple room were not disappointed when the curtains finally opened for a breathtaking darshan of the deities in a candle-lit altar. The candlelight aarti accompanied by roaring kirtan, immersed everyone present in bliss. A scrumptious vegetarian feast perfectly completed the evening.


 The following day saw quite a congregation for the morning 4.30 am mangala aarti to ring in the festivities for Govardhan Puja and New Year. The highlight of the evening program was the much awaited Abhishek of the Giriraj Govardhan deity with various choice items accompanied by melodious kirtan and bhajans. A wonderful multimedia presentation on Govardhan Hill pastimes by HG Urmila Devi Dasi with beautiful images was followed with everyone meditating on the Govardhan Hill.


The darshan of the deities on this day was very unique since large variety of food items were offered at the altar and the delicacies were then distributed out as prasadam for everyone to savor. At the end everyone was served with delicious feasting.

 The extended celebration went on past Sunday evening included: a tarangam Kuchipudi performance with brass plate and water pot by Anjali Center student, a violin performance, bhajan and dance by sunday school children. HG Urmila Devi Dasi took everyone on a guided journey of Shyam Kund and Radha Kund in the holy dham of Vrindavan, where Lord Krishna and Srimati Radharani performed many of their pastimes. The evening culminated with a parikrama of the Anna Kuta (Mountain of Food), made from umpteen vegetarian items. Cupcakes, cookies, laddoos, barfi, halava and more were all laid out to make huge Govardhan hill. Under the govardhan hill, Lord Krishna and attracted vraja vasis characters were arranged. A scrumptious vegetarian feast perfectly served for all guests in the evening.

As an added bonus, on these very auspicious days devotees had the opportunity to offer hand held ghee lamps lovingly to the Lord as part of the observance of Damodar vrata in this special month of Kartik. All in all, this festival of lights and Govardhan Puja at Houston of ISKCON brought to the community a very enjoyable spiritual extravaganza.

 For further details visit Hare Krishna Dham Houston at 1320 W 34th St, Houston TX 77018 (713 686 4482) or