New Year Celebrations 2014 at Sri Meenakshi Temple


Transfer of Power at Sri Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS). From left : Srikanth Venugopalan (Incoming Secretary, P. Vaduganathan (Incoming Chairman) and Padma Golla ( Incoming Treasurer), MTS priests, Tupil Narasiman (Outgoing Chairman), Raj Mikkelineni ( Outgoing Secreatry) and Parthiban Dhanabalan (Outgoing Treasurer).

By Chandana Golla and Akilan Gopal

PEARLAND: Sri Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS) started off this New Year with a day of celebration and prayer, bringing in almost 7000 devotees.

The newly elected board.

The newly elected board.

Starting as early as midnight, devotees arrived to perform special Archanas and receive blessings from gods for the New Year. The morning started with Ganesha Homam and abhishekam for Prasanna Vinayagar in the newly built Ganesh temple.  Over 500 devotee Archanas were performed for Venkateswara, Shiva, and Meenakshi.  Laksharchana (100,000 archanas) which was started a couple of days in advance, was completed.  The day was also particularly special for the society as they honored the 70th birthday and meaningful contributions of one of the original founders, Sam Kannappan.   In addition, a special pooja was done to ask blessings for the passing of the torch between the old and new board members as the board membership was transitioned.  The new board has a goal to raise money to work on the renovation of the main temple to make it more spacious over the next two years.

From left: Tupil Narasiman, Dr. Vaduganathan, Dr. Ranga.

From left: Tupil Narasiman, Dr. Vaduganathan, Dr. Ranga.

Local restaurants sold food throughout the day, and the temple sold saris worn by the deities and special Meenakshi Temple Society calendars.

A few times during the day, different deities dressed up in jewelry and adorned with flowers went around the temple on poo pallakku or palanquin carried on the shoulders of 16-20 volunteers.   Enthusiastic crowds followed the pallakku each time in a procession.

In the afternoon, Sri Meenakshi Temple hosted an entertaining cultural program, Anandam, highlighting performances from various regions of India.  The program started with a three-year old girl Nithalakshya’s prayer song followed by a honoring of the new MTS Chairman, Dr. Vaduganathan.  This commemoration was truly special as Dr. Kas Ranga crafted a Tamil poem to auspiciously laud the transition from Tupil Narasiman to Dr. Vaduganathan as MTS’s chairman.

The afternoon was filled with a cultural road trip of India starring Saratha and Dr. Ranga as they performed in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kanda, Malayalam, and more.  Singing and dancing became the alternating themes of the show.  Highlights of performances included classical BharataNatyam and Kuchipudi performances by Divya Unni and Sunantha Nair’s students, modern Bollywood and Kollywood dance numbers, classical and light music ensembles, and magnificent solo performances.  Each of these shows portrayed unique talents that in culmination with the other performances portrayed the diverse and distinguishing cultural identity of India.   Anandam, organized by Mala Gopal and Mahesh Iyer, concluded with an address from the new MTS secretary, Srikanth Venugopalan.

All in all, this festive day brought together people from as far away as India, to say farewell to 2013 and greet the spectacular and promising New Year to come, receiving the blessing of deities and celebrating with family and friends.   MTS thanks the large contingent of volunteers who worked tirelessly for several days to make this event possible.