Sri Meenakshi Temple Society’s Annual Banquet, “VIVAAH”

Photos: Srini Sundarrajan, Setty Uncle

Photos: Srini Sundarrajan, Setty Uncle

By Vijay Nathan

PEARLAND: On Saturday, September 8, the Meenakshi Temple Kalyana Mandapam was transformed into a grand venue richly decorated in red & gold. A fabulous stage with extended runway centered the room and guests were able to take pictures with an elaborative, decorative backdrop. To emphasize the theme of “wedding,” an ornate seervarisai graced the entryway and included authentic bakshanams like large size murukku, athirasam, paruppu thengai, fruits, nuts much more.  The complete decor to give an ambience of a grand wedding hall was creatively designed by Nalini Kannan.

Along with this was a long line of numerous donated silent auction items of saris, framed art, silver Kalasam, jewelry, and a full set of kolu dolls. Guests dressed in grand festive wear were received with traditional kumkum, chandan, and jasmine flowers with an opportunity to decorate their hands with artistic mehendi, while being treated to unique snacks.

The main focus of the night was to introduce a new initiative by the MTS Board to welcome youth donors with a handmade Kalpakavriksham [Wishing] Tree. Donors were able to hang their names on the gold tree and will be honored with their names on MTS Youth Wall upon the completion of the Kalyana Mandapam Renovation.

Guests of Honor Congressman Pete Olson presented a Congressional proclamation and spoke on the importance of instilling family values and community in our youth. Mayor Tom Reid presented a certificate in celebration of the event and endorsed the need to renovate the Kalyana Mandapam to continue to be a center of family, community, and religious gatherings in Pearland. Consul Mr. Amit Khanna represented the Indian Consulate on Houston and spoke of the authenticity and warm feeling of visiting Meenakshi Temple.  Three guests also presented 2018 MTS Scholarships.

The MTS Scholarship recipients included: Keshav Srivaths, Shreya Thipireddy, Layaa Raja Amrithalingam, Varsha Vasu, Divya Ramamurthy, Tejna Dasari, Adith V. Ram, Advait Prakash, Sathwik Iyer, Tejas Medapalli, Vishaal Vidyaprakash, Supritha Venkatesh.

During the evening, guests were entertained to Sangeeth, a melodious vocal & instrumental ensemble by youth co-ordinated by Mahalakshmi Krishnan of Sreekrithi School of Music. A lighthearted comedy skit entitled “Love is Forever” by local talent scripted by Dr Vaduganathan was enjoyed by all and took us back in time. The grand finale was “Mangalayam Thadhunanena,” a showcase of traditional wedding outfits from each region of India, co-ordinated & narrated by Vidvatha Sridhar.

The evening culminated in a multi-course, wedding-style grand feast catered by Madras Pavilion served on banana leaves by temple staff & smiling volunteers. Guests left the event with favor bags for ladies & beeda pan handmade by volunteers.

 Vivaah was an event to remember, honoring the historic legacy of our Temple by recognizing its historic past, invigorating our active youth in the present, and looking ahead to the future we will build together.