Rama Navami Celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple


By Bhargavi Golla

PEARLAND:  Sri Meenakshi Temple celebrated Sri Rama Navami with grandeur, gaiety, devotion and religious fervor on Sunday, March 25.   Sita Rama Kalyanam this year is more special for two reasons. We celebrated on the same day as Sri Rama Navami and this year is Vilambi Nama Samvatsaram, which is a birth year of Lord Sri Rama.  Sri Rama was the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the list of Dasa Avatars.   He was the eldest son of King Dasaratha and queen Kausalya.  Sri Rama was born on the ninth (Navami) lunar day of sukla paksha in Chaitra Masam.

Sri Rama had three brothers Bharatha,Lakshmana and Sathrughna and two sons Lava and Kusa who were bought up in Valmiki Ashram. It is said that Lord Sri Rama ruled this world for 11,000 years. Bhaktha Ramadas at the Sita Ramachandraswamy temple in Bhadrachalam started the tradition of celebrating Sita Rama Kalyanam for Sri Rama Navami.  Sri Rama’s die hard follower Bhakta Ramadas was jailed for performing the deities’ wedding with government funds some 400 years ago. However, the deity came to the rescue of his disciple and the government later made the celebration a state event.  The state government representatives present ‘Pattu Vasthralu’ and ‘Mutyala Talambralu’ to the temple for Sita Rama Kalyanam even today.


In Hindu religion we have the tradition of celebrating divine weddings.  Lord’s Kalyanam is performed to bring the happiness and peace around the world. Of all the divine weddings, the most celebrated one is Sri Sita Rama kalyanam — the celestial wedding of Lord Rama, with Seetha Devi. The style of the kalyanam as described in ancient Hindu writings is used as the baseline for Hindu marriages today.  Although, this wedding took place ages ago, it is remembered fondly and songs like Sita Kalyana Vaibhogame are sung even to this day and age during Hindu Wedding ceremonies.

Devotees gathered at the Ganesh temple with colorful trays of bakshanams, fruits and flowers. Women clad in traditional attire have begun preparing Talambralu with rice, turmeric, and other ingredients for the celestial wedding of the deities.  Rama parivar (Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman) utsava murthis were adorned in silk clothes and glittering jewelry were brought in a seer varisai procession to the kalyana mandapam with Nadaswaram music and devotees chanting Bhajans.

MTS chair Padmini Ranganathan welcomed the devotees and made announce-ment of the upcoming events Holi on April 8th, Walkathon on April 15th and Mahotsavam from April 20th to 29th. Pidi  Su-tral (offering of colored rice)  was performed to deities by several ladies while singing ‘Seetha kalyana vaibhogam, Rama kalyana vaibhogam’ song.  Panakam (sweet drink with jaggery and other ingredients) was offered to devotees as they entered the Kalyana mandapam to witness the celestial wedding.  Many devotees sponsored silk cloths for deities, silver kireetams for Rama parivar, gold jewelry for lord, annadhanam and sweets.  


Sheila Sriram from RAC committee elaborated the significance of each step.  Kalyana Mandapam echoed with Vedic hymns by priests and devotees.   The devotees enjoyed a mellifluous and soulful rendering of live music commensurate with the sacred marriage celebrations, by Praveena Gautham on vocal accompanied by young Kishore Iyer on the violin and Vishal Setlur on the Mridangam.

Priests Sridharan Raghavan, Pavan Kumar Sri Bhashyam, Sriman Narayana and Sri Parthasarathy performed the authentic divine kalyanam after the initial rituals including Sankalpam, Vishwaksena Pooja (Obstacle removal) and Punyahavachanam (Purify the space ritualistically).   This was followed by Raksha Sutram, a wristband that attests to the resolve of the devotees to perform the holy wedding, Yegnopaveetha dharanam (thread of sacrifice), Paada prakshalanam (cleansing Lord’s feet), Mangalashtakam prayer addressing all the Gods, sages, beings, places and sacred waters, kanya dhanam (offering of the bride to the groom), Jeelakarra bellam (a paste made of cumin and jaggery was put on the heads of the deities) and Mangalaya Dharanam.

The priests then followed it up with the homam (holy fire ceremony), akstharaponam (sacred Talambralu showered on the deities) and mangala Aarathi.

The Utsava Murthis were taken in a procession on the silver chariot to the main temple while the devotees chanting Bhajans for the final Aarathi.  The Divine wedding concluded with a sumptuous feast, organized by Food committee and served by volunteers.  Bhargavi Golla and Rani Chilukuri were the event coordinators of this successful event.  Secretary Ram Reddy thanked the priests, staff, coordinators, devotees, sponsors and volunteers.  

A brief video of the event can be found at: https://youtu.be/nuoc4ff8BwU