Traditional Diwali Drama Meets Modern Lasers and Pyrotechnics


For the third year in a row, the drama, laser and fireworks Diwali show at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir made an outdoor sound and light show spectacle that pulsated in the air and glued over 2,000 spectators eyes to the drama that unfolded onstage. For those who hadn’t seen this before, it was a unique experience to see the mists of vapor seemingly floating on the beams of blue and red lasers shooting from the temple in the distance while the story of Bhakta Prahlad was told by a cast of thirty performers. Many more stage hands worked in the dark shadows of the open stage to place props in the right positions and a dozen or more technical guys worked the cameras to bring the story to two large screens on either side of the stage. Another dozen managed the lasers that painted the graphics – folded handed, a lotus, and the scrolling salutations (welcome, happy Diwali, happy New Year in English, Hindi and Gujarati) zip across the front façade of the Mandir 300 yards away. Behind the temple, fireworks erupted in synch with the storyline to show happiness, elation and victory. The whole production was, as one Mandir volunteer put it, “like you pushed a button and the whole storyline started from start to end”. This production only goes to show the immense, first-rate videographics capabilities that the BAPS audio visual crew has developed over the years. – Jawahar Malhotra


STAFFORD: This past weekend flags were flying high and bright lights surrounded the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir reflecting this year’s Diwali program “Dhaja Farkavo”. Many have heard our parents and grandparents reminisce about their joyous experiences of Diwali.  Most of them recall how homes and neighborhoods were lit with candles as well as the aroma of sweets being prepared and shared.  Our parents also remember the many types of fireworks they enjoyed, the beautifully decorated homes and mandirs, and the days of celebration.  Many of from the community experienced the festive ambiance as they attended the Diwali and New Year celebrations at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.


While celebrating traditional festivals within one’s homeland is fairly commonplace, maintaining the practice in a distant land can be difficult but remains essential in passing on culture, meaning, importance, and traditions to future generations.  For Hindus, Diwali presents one such opportunity to renew the rich traditions of their roots with great fanfare as well as a chance to reflect and introspect.  Realizing these important facts, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS, inspires programs to celebrate Hindu festivals, such as Diwali, at BAPS centers worldwide.

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The musical outdoor Diwali program incorporated fireworks and lasers while displaying the story of Bhakta Prahlad. By the end of the program everyone was energized from the fireworks and enlightened from the message that came out the story; God will prevail evil which reflects the foundation of Diwali, dispelling darkness with light.

Smita Trivedi from Sugarland said “it’s amazing to see this here in the US.” She added, “Every Diwali takes me back to my childhood in India but this is great because my own children get to experience the festivities.”

On the Hindu New Year, Monday, November 4, many of all ages were welcomed to take in the scene of the bright colors of the Rangoli and traditional colorful saris and salwar.  Inside the Mandir, people witnessed Annakut, a diverse offering of vegetarian food before the murtis or sacred images.  Excitedly, they pointed at the dishes they liked and expressed curiosity about the ones less familiar.  The dedication and tireless efforts of the volunteers was evident in every aspect of the celebration.  They offered prayer, expressed their wishes for the year ahead, and even had the opportunity to partake in the offerings.

Trivedi’s son, Ankur commented, “This past weekend has been memorable and educational. This Mandir, the celebration allows me to experience India here!”

Many left the premises of the mandir with immense pride for their rich heritage and impressions of the bright flames from the candles that marked the removal of darkness in the form of inner vices. The celebrations had served their intended purpose – to help the youth imbibe the true meaning behind Hindu festivals and create a sense of pride and belonging to their heritage.