Krishna’s Celestial Birth Celebrated with Swirling Dancers

Costume contest group 2

Photos: Bijay Dixit

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: You don’t often see Mayor Annise Parker dancing the dandia raas  with hundreds of other people, but this past Saturday, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, you could see her trading taps of the sticks with Manisha Gandhi as they both went around the immense hall.


It was an occasion to rejoice and Parker said she liked it. “I really enjoyed being at Lord Krishna’s birthday celebration”, she added. “There were thousands from Houston’s Hindu community. I have attended the same event previously too. I always receive so much warmth from this community when I attend its events.”


The Janamashtami celebrations on July 7 were a huge crowd draw for the day-long event that featured workshops in the afternoon and then culminated in 38 colorful booths from area temples and service organizations and a few vendors, flanked by the huge framed pictures by Amarjit Singh of Unique Touch USA on one side and a food stall by Mahesh Shah of Madras Pavilion restaurant that had two lines snaking to it on the other. Many men were dressed in Indian pajama-kurtas, but none as resplendent as Nik Nikam who only lacked a sera bandi to complete his bright outfit.

 Chief guest of the event was Saumitra Gokhale, an engineering graduate from Pune University who, in 2000 decided to devote himself completely to the service of Hinduism via the HSS and has since been a volunteer pracharak in the Caribbean and now in America. In 2011, he became a Vishwa Vibhag Samjoyak based in the US, meaning that his responsibility now included world-wide service.

After an entertainment period featuring a competition among small children in costume, aarti had everyone standing to pay homage to the Holy Birth and then the hall was cleared for the much anticipated dandia raas garba that went on till way past midnight.