Houston Cha Raja Ganesh Utsav 2015 : Are You Ready?


HOUSTON: Shiv Shakti Mandir is in full swing with a dhamaal ten day Ganesh Utsav that will culminate in a spectacular Ganesh Visarjan & Parade organized by Masala Radio.  The Fifth Annual Ganesh Visarjan festivities will begin at 5PM with a parade with the 10ft Houston Cha Raja Ganesh Murthi on Saturday, September 26, at Shiv Shakti Mandir, 6640 Harwin Drive in Houston.  Due to swelling crowds of devotees and inpouring of Hillcroft restaurant, the parade will end and celebrations continue at the Mandir itself, with professional dances, live singing, crowd dancing, prasad and Maha Aarti.  Houston Cha Raja will leave after Maha Arti to Madras Pavilion Sugarland for an 8PM Visarajan on the lake.

Celebrated in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and around the world, Ganesh Utsav (festival) is one of the most fun events.  In the late-1800s, India’s revered freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gandharva Tilak brought the concept of a “sarvajanik mahotsav” (sarvajanik = public/for everyone; mahotsav = grand festival) – a celebration of one of the most loved Hindu Gods representing wisdom and prosperity.  Not only did this mahotsav bring the community together, it was also a way to organize a collective protest at a grassroots level against the British rule then.  That pioneering concept of bringing the community together is still alive today in Houston, thanks to the vision of Shri Virat Maharaj of Shiv Shakti Mandir.  He, along with Masala Radio and dedicated volunteers, have successfully recreated the sarvajanik mahotsav right here in town.  Known as Houston Cha Raja – King of Houston (similar to Mumbai’s Lalbaug Cha Raja), the ten-foot idol of Lord Ganesh is on display at the Mandir.


Starting with the sthapana (installation) of the ten-foot idol on Ganesh Chaturthi, on the fourth day in the holy month of Bhadrapad, daily celebrations with poojas, recitation of bhajans and aarti, are planned for devotees to pay homage until Saturday’s Ganesh Utsav.  Also known as Visarjan (immersing in water), Sunil T and the Crazy Masala Crew will lead a procession on Saturday, September 26, in the Mahatma Gandhi District area at Hillcroft and Harwin, which symbolizes Lord Ganesh’s return to his home in Mount Kailas.  While not only bringing the community together, this annual event also gives everyone, especially our young generation, a chance to celebrate India’s rich culture.

For further information visit www.HoustonIndiaFestival.comand www.ShivShaktiMandir.org or call 713-278-9099.