“Heaven on Earth” – Meenakshi-Sundareswara Wedding at MTS

Photos: Srini Sundarrajan

Photos: Srini Sundarrajan

By M.K.Sriram

PEARLAND: April 29, is a day to remember forever in the Houston Hindu religious platform.  The Thirukalyanam (Holy Wedding) of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswara (Siva) was celebrated with extraordinary festivities, joy and grandeur at the Sri Meenakshi Temple.  This wedding was the finale for the ten-day Mahotsavam (Great Festival).  This festival follows the tradition set by the world famous Meenakshi temple at Madurai.  Year by year, this signature event of the Meenakshi temple has been getting grander and grander.  This year’s festival has been the Ultimate!

The weather was just perfect for the occasion; with devotees attired in predominantly green (Meenakhsi’s favorite color) assembling at the Ganesh Temple in the morning.  Many families had brought specially made Seer (savories and sweets), flower and fruits.  The traditional live Nadaswaram and Thavil (South Indian musical pipe & drums) music filled the air created the perfect festive ambience throughout the ceremonies. 


After initial pujas to Lord Ganesha, the Seer Bakshanams were carried in a procession around the main temple and awaited the arrival of the Deities from the temple. A most beautifully decorated Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Siva, accompanied by Lord Vishnu were brought in palanquins on the shoulders of ardent devotees and joined the procession to the Kalyana Mandapam.  Priests performed the garland exchanges to the tune of the famous “Maalai Mattrinal” song played by the musicians. The Deities were then gently rocked on a swing decorated with flowers, while the ladies performed a ritual.  

The Deities were then carried to the main Mandapam.  Oh, what a glorious sight it was to see the Deities seated in the most gorgeously decorated Mandapam! It instantly uplifted the hearts and minds of the devotees.  Many dedicated volunteers worked on stringing beautiful flower garlands.  The priests performed important rituals such as Rakshabandanam and Kanyadaanam, with participation by all the sponsor families.  Many families availed of the opportunity to offer Vasthrams (saris & dhothis) and Mangalyam for the wedding. The most auspicious climactic moment was the Mangalya Dharanam (tying of Mangalyam), and it was a truly indescribably divine moment that will always remain in the memory of the attendees.

The grandest of processions followed with Meenakshi in the brilliant silver Ratham (chariot) and all Deities in their respective Vahanas.  Several ladies performed Kummi Dance in front of the Ratham. The devotees thoroughly enjoyed and merrily celebrated this joyous wedding procession.  The final rituals were completed and the temple flag that was hoisted ten days ago, was brought down to mark the completion of the grand Mahotsavam.  


A sumptuously delicious sit-down lunch with traditional wedding items was served on banana leaves to about 2000 devotees.  Scores of volunteers worked on cutting vegetables, helping with the cooking in the temple kitchen and serving.

This whole Mahotsavam, especially the Thirukalyanam was meticulously planned and so well organized by the Temple Board members led by the Chairman Mrs. Padmini Nathan.  There was great teamwork and coordination among the various committees such as Religious Activities, Cultural, Food, Infrastructure (sound & video) etc. as well as the Temple administrators. The priests led by Sri Manicka Bhattar conceptualized and performed the pujas and homams so beautifully. The talented group of artisans led my Sri Ramanathan worked tirelessly day and night to put on the magnificent event.   Special thanks to volunteer photographers Srini Sudarrajan, Lakshminarayana Setty and Milind Patil.

Many of the devotees expressed their great fortune to attend this function and felt they were really in the Madurai Meenakshi Temple.  Indeed we are very fortunate to celebrate this Mahotsavam right here in Houston.  This is the only temple in the entire western hemisphere where one can witness this.  For those who somehow missed this year’s festival and Meenakshi-Sundareswara kalyanam, it is a must attend next year.  The Cultural Program by High School graduating students was a treat to watch after the lunch.  A brief video of the event can be found at: https://youtu.be/BcQmOSyxzXo