HMM Gives Ganpati Bappa a Grand Welcome in Houston


By Aditya Anil Raje

HOUSTON: On Sep 14, Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM – celebrated the annual Ganeshotsav festival at VPSS Hall, 11715 Bellfort Village Dr, Houston, TX. Given the popularity of this festival, HMM expected a fantastic response from the Maharashtrian community this year as well. It was a sold-out event with a record breaking 750 people in attendance.

Public Ganeshotsav celebration was initiated by Lokmanya B. G. Tilak in the year 1893 in Pune to promote social reform and the Indian self-rule or Swarajya movement. The festival is popular in Maharashtra and widely celebrated with a lot of pomp and enthusiasm. HMM celebrates this festival every year by bringing the Houston Maharashtrian community together for this festival.


Preparations were started about a month in advance to put the event together. This year’s biggest attraction was the miravnuk (a procession to welcome Lord Ganesh). Traditional percussion instruments like dhol and tasha were especially imported from Pune this year for use in the miravnuk. Also a part of the miravnuk this year was the troupe of ladies and children who performed lezim while leading the miravnuk. Lezim is a popular dance/exercise routine encouraged in schools in Maharashtra. It was a great experience to see young children participating in lezim and performing an art that their parents grew up doing back in India. The miravnuk was so well appreciated that footage of it was carried by Marathi news channel TV9 in India the next day.


The miravnuk was followed by several cultural programs. At the end of the programs all the attendees participated in the maha-arti with cheers of Ganpati Bappa Morya. This was followed by a sumptuous prasad dinner. Modak, a special sweet, a favorite of Lord Ganesh, was enjoyed by all.

The Consul General of India, Houston, P. Harish and his family graced the event with their presence as Chief Guest. In his address to the gathering, Harish said he forgot he was in Houston for a while and got transported to the Ganesh Chaturthi of his memories in Hyderabad. He congratulated HMM for organizing an event on such a scale and for promoting Indian culture. Sunil Thakkar and Preanka of Masala Radio were also present at the event and entertained the audience.


First time attendees Atharva Barve and Rucha Nirantar, when asked for their impression, said they were thoroughly impressed by the program and the activities of HMM and would like to participate in future events. HMM also extends its heartfelt thanks to Sindhutai Hardikar, Aling’s Hakka Chinese Restaurant and BEST Engineering for their generous support.

The next event in the HMM calendar is the Diwali program for which HMM has already started its preparation. A magazine called Sneha will be published and HMM is seeking advertisements, articles, poems, etc.


HMM is a non-profit organization that has been organizing Maharashtrian cultural events, encouraging Maharashtrian arts and promoting the Marathi language in the Houston area since 1976. HMM acts as a medium for Maharashtrians in the Houston area to connect and network with each other by giving them a common platform to come together.