Houston’s Car Parade Celebrates Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi Temple

By Thara Narasimhan

“Houston’s Historic Car Rally, marked by a profound reverence for the Inauguration of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, achieved tremendous success, capturing global attention. The Indian media acknowledges this accomplishment as a testament to the unity and dedication of the Indian Diaspora in Houston. This unprecedented ‘Car Rally’ unfolded as a collective endeavor with a divine purpose—harboring peace and prosperity through prayers, resonating ‘Jai Shri Ram’ throughout the city.

Car parade traveling on the freeway to all the major Houston temples

Led by organizers Achalesh Amar, Arun Mundra, and Umang Mehta, the event covered 13 temples of diverse types. The initial initiative of VHPA – World Hindu Council along with Hindus of Greater Houston and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh , commendably laid the foundation. The flawless execution received exceptional support from the Houston Police Department, demonstrating remarkable traffic management.

The enthusiasm was palpable from the starting point at Sri Meenakshi Temple, with a grand procession featuring a beautifully decorated truck adorned with a large image of Shri Ram, and two SUVs carrying the Ram Pariwar to all the Temples. Sri Jugal Malini ji, Advisory Council member of HGH and MTS Chairman  Arun Sundar  flagged off the Cars from the starting point at Sri. Meenakshi Temple.

Car parade enthusiast. Photo by Bijoy Dixit

He said, “It was a great honor for me & Raj to participate in the ” Jai Shree Ram Car rally ” with more than 108 cars at the starting point. It was a very inclusive event as the rally visited several temples of the Houston area & everywhere got very enthusiastic reception.  The car rally was escorted by 8 police officers and at times more than 200 cars joined the caravan. This rally notched up the unity of our Houston Hindu community by various groups participation.  This is a great way of kick starting the festivities for the historic moment, which we are very lucky to witness in our lifetime ” The Shree Ram Mandir” opening ceremony on January 22nd at his original birthplace.

The parade culminated at Sri Sharadamba Temple, SVBF South, Richmond, TX, with ceremonial prayers led by Shri. Dr. Lakshmi Narasimha Dasika. A sumptuous Lunch was served to all the devotees and Car Rally participants. Over 500 riders, carrying saffron banners depicting the Ram temple, the Indian flag, and the US flag, participated in the 3-mile-long rally of 216 cars. Umang Mehta expressed the sentiment, stating, ‘We are blessed to be living in this time and celebrating the return of Shri Ram to Ayodhya. The atmosphere was charged with devotion, feeling like Shri Ram himself had arrived in Houston.’

The car parade began Sunday, January 7 morning at the Meenakshi Temple in Pearland and wound its way to all the major Hindu temples in Houston. Shown here are decorations at the VPSS temple.

The event drew the participation of enthusiastic youth, exemplified by Sohan Adi (16 yrs.old), who remarked on the emotional connection forged through the recent study of the temple’s history and the joyous celebrations. He said, ‘Since the past few months, I saw my parents getting all excited about Sri Ram Mandir. Since I was born here, I was not connected emotionally earlier. I have been hearing and reading Ramayana stories all along my life since my childhood, but the most recent study about the temple history, the struggle involved, and yesterday’s car rally helped me understand even more better. The joyous celebrations were mesmerizing. Police constables escorting the rally was a thrilling experience. One day I would like to visit the original temple in Ayodhya.’

SriVibhav Aluru (Vibhav), 12 yrs. old, marveled at the unprecedented celebration in the United States, appreciating the effort and dedication of those involved. He said, ‘In the United States of America, a celebration as huge as it would be in India is unheard of. But this is exactly what has been achieved with the Sri Ram Mandir car rally with over 200 cars visiting as many as 28 temples in the span of only one day. This huge event had been planned for months and many people have dedicated hours and hours of work to this project. In a non-Hindu country, many people must pay thousands of dollars to go to India and experience a celebration of Sri Ram firsthand. Luckily for those that live in the greater Houston area that can experience a celebration just as big without spending 1% of the money they would need to spend to experience this. I went to the car rally expecting it to be just a small event that I would be taking part in, but I was shocked when I saw the police cars lead the line of hundreds of cars through the temples. This truly was an amazing experience for me, and I am sure that it was a great experience for every person that experienced this magnificent event.’

Jugal Malani with Gagan Singh at MTS

Arun Mundra mobilized volunteers from various Metro Houston area Mandirs,. Achalesh Amar personally carried the Deities Murti to every Temple the car rally called upon, receiving ceremonial prayers of welcome and Aarti at each stop, symbolizing the spread of goodness and godliness for all.”

Please mark your calendar to attend the event o January 21st 2024. Registration required to guarantee seat.   We cordially invite you to attend a grand celebration in Houston. On January 21st, 2024, from 3 pm to 5-30pm. At Gujarati Samaj of Houston, 9550 W. Bellfort Ave., Houston, TX 77031. All are welcome and please register to attend.

Car decals were given to all the participants (left). First 108 cars received the large flag and t-shirt.

Ram bhakt with t-shirt and scarf










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