HWS Begins the New Year with Blessings from Durga Mata!



By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: It is considered an auspicious beginning of the New Year when the blessings of the Goddess Durga, the Invincible One, are invoked to protect you through the coming months. And the Hindu Worship Society on Wirtcrest Road commenced it with jut that fervor at its annual Mata di Chowki on the evening of Sunday, January 1 from 5 to 9pm with the devotional hall full of devotees.




This was the second Chowki held in the past five months, when the previous one on Friday, August 26 featured New Delhi based religious artist Puneet Khurana who performed high-volume bhajans in front of the deities. The New Year’s Chowki featured a well-known local religious singer, Ravi Shankar Puri, and his accompanying musicians, who sang the praises of Durga Mata with equally high gusto, with a saffron turban on his head, a red chunni and a red waistcoat.


As is customary, other faithful joined in for their own devotional bhajans, including Surender Talwar, a popular figure among the community, leading off with several songs in his strong tenor voice.

The turnout for the Chowki was huge – organizers estimated close to 400 people came – as the next day, Monday, was a holiday and they joined in for the concluding aarti and Prasad. Dinner was catered, as usual by Bombay Brasserie after the Chowki came to a resounding conclusion.


The Hindu Worship Society was formally established in 1980 by the oldest Hindu families, mostly Punjabis from North India, then in Houston. The present worship hall, adjoining facilities and house for the priest on Wirtcrest Road blends into the area north of I-10 and close to the center of the city.


The HWS is currently updating its membership roster and is soliciting verification forms in preparation of elections in February or March for its Governing Board and Executive Committee. Forms are to be completed and returned by regular mail, email or in person at the temple before January 8, which is also the date of the next General Body meeting to be held at 11am.