Spectacular Royal Wedding of Lord Ram & Sita

By Geetha Ravula

Shri Sita Ram Foundation, USA  and Sri Rama Jaya Niketan Temple hosted a spectacular Sri Ram Navami Festival 2022 for Greater Houston community at large on Saturday, April 9th, 2022 on the new temple grounds at 5500 Queenston Blvd, Houston.

This First ever festival on Temple grounds was well received by about 7,000 devotees who rejoiced and participated in the festival.

Sri Rama Navami is one of the important festivals celebrated by Hindus all across the globe. It is the auspicious appearance day of Supreme GOD Maha Vishnu in the human form as Lord Ram. Devotees celebrate Lord Ram’s birth anniversary in many different ways.

Ram also known as Rama is popularly known as Purushottam, the best amongst mankind and always exhibited 16 qualities of a human being which made him an epitome of humanity. Devotees celebrate this day to invoke auspiciousness into their lives and those around them and reminisce the standards set by Rama for righteous living. In many traditions, a discourse is followed after the celebration where the Gurus highlight how Rama encountered challenges in his life seamlessly with love and being mindful of the well-being of others.

Most challenging yet graceful journey of Lord Rama is popularly known as Ramayana, which is in the form of book in at least 22 languages including Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Spanish, Chinese, Thai, Laotian, Tibetan. Ramayan extolls how Rama held his duties and relationships in every phase of his life righteously and it also serves as a guide for human beings.

The festival was initiated by  Hanuma Swami ji and Arun Verma ji followed by Hanuman Chalisa recitation by Vedic Academy Kids. To understand and relate to the tradition, the celebrations were conducted with a mix of tradition and theatrical presentation through music, dance and elucidation. Devotees expressed their joy for presenting the festival in a unique relatable way . The  Foundation created a unique environment where devotion was mixed with the feeling of attending a Royal marriage celebration.

The entire grounds were decorated in a festive manner with streamers, Balloon gateways, and full blown marriage decorations representing a Royal wedding.   Separate Huge tents were pitched on the grounds to represent Ayodhya, Janakpuri and the Shaddi Mandap. The Shaddi Mandap , where the marriage took place had a large stage, carpet area for people to sit plus several hundred chairs to sit and watch the proceedings. There were also 50 smaller tents where various food and merchandize vendors were selling their respective wares. The entire area was vibrant with a unique blend of a festival, a carnival, a marriage celebration and devotion.

A separate area was also designated for a children’s carnival area where children were kept busy with several games , mechanical rides , horseback & Buggy rides .

Similar to any modern day Hindu wedding, Devotees celebrated Birth of Ram, Haldi (Turmeric) Ceremony for Ram, Mehendi Ceremony for his consort Sita Devi followed by Baarat, Grand Marriage Procession where Lord Ram’s idol was carried in a decorated  horse carriage escorted by  30 men carrying beautifully decorated umbrellas. Marriage procession was led by a devotee holding the flag of Lord Ram, Surya pathaka, joined by Consul General of India in Houston , Sriman Aseem Mahajan, Arun Verma  and  a large contingent  of  ladies & devotees carrying many ornaments, flowers and food items. Several dance groups led the Baarat; e.g.  South Indian Kolatam, North Indian Garba and Maharashtrian Leziem dances were performed and were  a sight to watch, as they led the procession.  Lord Ram’s name was chanted by ISKCON devotees as Lord Ram made his way to his wedding stage called Mithila mandap. Prettily adorned Sita Devi’s idol was carried on a Palki to the wedding stage by ladies dressed in pink. One hundred and eight devotees prepared 108 sweets for the wedding. Entrancing dances for the divine couple were performed by several esteemed dance schools of Houston on the main stage. The devotion of the participants was evident in their efforts.

Hanuman Swamiji along with his team of 6 priests conducted a spectacular wedding of Sita Devi and Lord Ram. It’s the tradition of famous Badrachalam Rama Temple of India to host Sita Rama Kalynam, the wedding of Sri Rama with Sita devi before consecrating a new temple. The same tradition was honored here. Celebrations concluded with exchanging of garlands, signifying the newlywed couple to accept each other’s fragrance inwardly for a harmonious life.

The first phase of Temple construction is planned to be completed by next year. Some of the deities that will be installed in the Temple are of Lord Ram, Hanuman, Sita, Laxman  and Yadadri Lakshmi Narasimha.

Hanuman Swamiji recognized and appreciated many philanthropists who came forward to donate towards temple construction. Temple land was donated by Arun Verma ji and Vinnie Verma ji of Shri Sita Ram Foundation of USA. Temple board request all devotees of Houston to donate towards Temple construction at SriRamaJaya.org

Temple and Foundation team convey their heartfelt humble appreciations to donors, sponsors, participants, media, vendors, devotees, organizers and volunteers for being part of the celebration and contributing to Lord Ram’s service.

The Foundation and the new temple thanks all Houstonians who attended, the many volunteers,  the  vendors,  other temple organizations and performers who performed at this unique celebration of Ram Navami, which has never been seen in Houston ever before.