Hindus of Greater Houston & ISKCON of Houston jointly celebrates 2023 Sri. Krishna Janmashtami

Kids on stage dressed like young Krishnas during the children’s costume contest at Janmashtami, an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Sri Krishna at ISKCON of Houston on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Photo: Karen Warren/Staff photographer, The Houston Chronicle

By Thara Narasimhan

Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH) along with ISKCON of Houston jointly celebrated Krishna Janmashtami this year that was an outstanding success. The Children’s Costume Contest has always been the most attractive spectacular stage show ever since the time it was presented almost 34 years ago by HGH. At that time there were not many temples and all Hindus unified in one place to bring their children dressed up their best to showcase the beauty of Little Lord Krishna or Radha. This year, it was no exception that over 75 children came with the glorious forms that only can be described as reflecting the aesthetically beautiful Radha Nila Madhava, the Deities at ISKCON Temple of Houston.

The highlights of appearances of Radha & Krishna in Chandra mandala via Chandrayan3, reserved some high points from the judges as well as strikingly beautiful. The three age groups of 0-3, 3-6 and 7-10 were all awarded gifts for participation and Prizes were given to top 3 in each category.  The award presentation was done by dignitaries that included Saddguru Shri Maharaj, renowned spiritual guru, Deputy Consul General of India Smt. Aadesh Sudhir, Smt.Kiran Bhutada – Director for Bhutada Family Foundation and Smt. Kimberly Mabry of Interfaith Ministry of Greater Houston. Nearly 6,000 visitors attended this year’s Shri Krishna Janmashtami festival at the ISKCON temple. The beauty of the festive look of temple itself added to the ambiance. The deities were beautifully decked up “Alankar”- decorations and ornaments that were awe inspiring and spiritually uplifting.

A priest blesses followers in the temple during Janmashtami, an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna at ISKON of Houston on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023 in Houston. Photo: Karen Warren/Staff photographer. The Houston Chronicle

Special guests attending this year included: Representative from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Kim Ogg (Harris County District Attorney), Surendran Pattel (Fort Bend County Judge), Richard Hightower (Justice 1st Court of Appeals, Place 8), Chad Bridges (District Judge 458th District), and Steve Duble (JP Precinct 1 Place 2). Each guest received special garland, Gift Bag (Prasadam, Haribol Organic Items and Books) and they were able to participate in evening aarti.

Hindus of Greater Houston strives hard to bring out the best and in bringing children, youth, and the community together. They begin to understand the wider society, our values, and beauty of Hindu festivities and celebrations. Shuttle bus (for remote parking) was systematically undertaken by Bharat Patel, who serves as the Board Member at Hindus of Greater Houston. This year, Rachana Shah, Vice President of HGH, spearheaded the task and managed as the Event coordinator. Shital Rathi, HGH Board member dedicated her time with planning, preparing, executing, and organizing the Costume contest. The winners gallery includes the following in each category:

Group A –1st Place: Drithi Reddy/ 2nd Place: Krishna Singhania/ Third Place: Ivaan Kapoor
Group B – 1st Place: Kiyaan Sharma/ 2nd Place:Ziva Dangre/  3rd Place:  Juhi Bhutada & Shanaya Baheti
Group C – 1 st Place: Raman Soni/  2nd Place: Pranav Nair/ 3rd Place: Ashvi Gupta

Hindus of Greater Houston and ISKCON of Houston’s joint celebrations was a wonderful success, cherished by everyone who came on a weekday to attend the festival. Shri Krishna Janmashtami was rejoiceful for all joining hands together in prayers preparation and presentation.