Puneet Khurana Draws Devoted Worshipers to Mata Di Chowki at HWS


By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: Two years ago when he came to perform at the Mata di Chowki, the main hall at the Hindu Worship Society’s Temple was filled to capacity to see the first ever visit to Houston by the popular religious singer Puneet Khurana. This past Sunday evening, June 24, despite being the day before the workweek started, the devote worshippers kept coming in till past 9pm to once again hear Khurana sing and participate in the concluding aarti.

The occasion was the Mata di Chowki performance by New Delhi-based religious artist Puneet Khurana who held the audience spell-bound by his high-volume delivery just in front of the deities at the temple complex on Wirtcrest Road. Khurana’s backup musicians were seated on a dais just off to the side while the faithful were seated on the floor in full view of the deities.

The main hall was packed with worshippers who came to see Puneet Khurana perform

The main hall was packed with worshippers who came to see Puneet Khurana perform

Puneet Khurana is a well-known religious singer who has shot to fame with his vibrant delivery and performances and has three best-selling CDs –  Maa Mere Bhi Ghar Aana, Jai Ganga Maiya Ki and Sai Ji Meri Jholi Bhardo. Khurana. He and his group are on their annual 20-city tour of eleven states in the US and concluded it at the HWS Houston with the Sunday evening performance.

In North India Mata di Chowki poojas are usually offered anytime towards invoking the strength of the Maa Durga. These are among the highest attended religious functions, and apart from temples, many people may hold them to receive blessings of the Goddess for special projects or functions they are going forward with.


Khurana gave a rousing 90-minute performance at the HWS Mata di Chowki on Sunday, June 24.

The Chowki has been performed twice a year for over 20 years at the HWS, with local community members leading the bhajans. When Rajinder Soni, one of the HWS volunteers, had seen Khurana performing in Delhi, the artist told him he was going on his annual tour of the US. Soni mentioned it to the HWS Board and they agreed to have him perform in August 2016 and now again this year.

Many of the nearly 400 people who attended this past Sunday’s Mata di Chowki were ecstatic about Khurana’s performance and said they looked forward to next year’s event and this encouraged the many sponsors of the program. Among them was Narendra Sehgal, the owner of Bombay Brasserie restaurant who always – twice a year – donates the catered dinner held after each chowki. This Sunday, volunteers served food under a white tent in the parking lot and worshippers sat on the spread out white chairs.

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.