Vedic Hymns Reverberate a Quiet Saturday Afternoon


Photos: Sujay Ramagoni


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By Vanshika Vipin

KATY: Saturday, April 23, was not the usual quiet afternoon at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy. It was reverberated due to the high energy experience, or as we call it ‘Vedic Hymns’, being wafted out at Ashirwad’s 5th Vedic Fair.

After the grand success of the earlier Vedic Fair’s, Ashirwad once again helped translate the age-old Spiritual knowledge into blessings, being imparted in form of a complete family experience that covered the length and breadth of India. Preparations for this nonpareil fair started since December 2015, and one could judge the tremendous amount of efforts put in as they walked in from the car parking area. As people started moving into the entrance, they were greeted by a divine Dio-Rama Saket Lok, a gorgeously decorated set with a huge backdrop of Lord Ram in Saket Lok, depicting the abode of Lord Sri Rama. People who had taken a pause were seen noticing the backdrop, which enlisted the 16 qualities  (Gunas as mentioned in Sanskrit) translated to English.

The heavenly journey of this Vedic Fair began with a supreme divine recitation of Hanuman Chalisa, by members of Shri. Lakshmi Narayan Mandir. This was followed by a hallowing instrumental performance by Katy Orchestra, a young band that lifted audiences’ spirits with their devotional numbers attuned to modern karaoke music. Abhinaya School of Dance, Katy, performed a coronation dance that pepped up the event. A cute little treat was to see tiny kids in avatars of their favorite Gods and Goddesses in a show called ‘Kids Vedic Walk’, that presented Ikshwaku Dynasty, the lineage of Lord Ram. The honest and genuine feedback of some of the kids is stated at the end of this article.

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Geetha and Sri Ravula, Vedic Fair organizers with their team at Ashirwad’s 5th Vedic Fair on Saturday, April 23, at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy.

The brightly talented Ashirwad students presented a variety of items ranging from historic temples to modern sports. It was so fascinating to see some lovely kids who had put in a lot of efforts that exhibited not only their love and passion for this subject but also their deep knowledge.

Excitement is impossible where there is no contest. From the 27 plus ‘Celebrate India Exhibit’ booths, Ashirwad students contested to present topics on INDIA. The winners of this contest were, Jahnabi Deka who beautifully presented “Mahabharath in North Eastern States”, first runner up Saanika Halapeti on “Shiva Puran” and second runner up Laalsa Kella on “Taj Mahal”. The Vedic Bazaar also witnessed 20 plus booths that displayed varied faiths across the Indian culture including ISCKON, Govinda Gaudiya, and booths on Islam, Buddhism and  Jainism.  This marvelous event was attended by 2500 plus Houstonians.

The signature event was Sloka-Thon contest, which displayed a rare and unique talent of chanting 108 slokas of Vishnu Sahasra Namam, memorized by the kids who could also chant these slokas in a reverse order. The contestants who proudly made it to the Top 5 were Aishani Sakalabaktula, Rhea Bhat, Saanika Halapeti, Sai Pardhu Aki and Srinidhi Srikalyani.

As they say, the best showcase is usually kept for the last. And this could be judged with the outcome of the Grand Finale play,  “Rama – Lord of 16”. This play was so well received by the wonderful audiences that lovingly and emotionally stayed back till the grand coronation of Lord Ram. The play showcased some snippets from Lord Ram’s life and highlighted a few of the 16 great qualities that he practiced. The event was so pepped up with life in a grand way, with a perfect mix of props, modern soothing music, bright costumes and back screen videos that complimented the scenes in addition to dazzling the stage.

The first and foremost that Geetha Ravula, the founder of ‘Ashirwad, A Blessing Temple’ did was to thank her GURU HH Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji for initiating and gracing her with knowledge that she is now able to share with her students.

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If a team moves forward together with a common vision, success is taken care of by itself. Geetha and Sri Ravula, Vedic Fair organizers do believe in this and hence they individually called out the names of Ashirwad’s Teachers and Team members and thanked them for their continued commitment and dedication towards Indian Heritage. The names of these brilliant team members were: – Priya and Ravi Sethuraman, Priya Muralidharan, Deepika Maharaj, Sailesh and Radhika Kaparaju, Ashutosh and Sonali Sapru, Anish Kumar and Rajeshwari Ganeshan, Mahima Bhat, Bindu Bhonsley, Manisha and Mahesh Halapeti, Kavita and Prasad Kella and Vedic Fair 5 Team including Ashirwad Young Wings.

A successful event cannot be complete without the support of its members and partners. Ravulas therefore thanked organizations that supported Vedic Fair 5 – Shri Sitaram Foundation, Mandap Creations, ISKCON, Sanatan Hindu Center, Abhinaya School of Dance and participating organization in Inter Faith presentations, Islamic Society of Greater Houston, JVB Preksha Meditation Center, Universal Door Meditation Center, Vedic Bazaar Vendors and Media friends Vanshika Vipin, Shobna Muratee, Seshadri Kumar, Manisha Gandhi, Voice of Sanatan Hinduism and Masala Radio.

The tag line of Vedic Fair was truly justified in stating ‘ Fun, Festive & Flamboyant Fair’.  The Vedic Fair is a unique event on the Houston Calendar – it is an independent event that has seen success because of the participants and the organization. The Ashirwad Temple firmly believes in enriching the community by spreading the knowledge of Hindu Spirituality.  The belief of Ashirwad Temple is “One-ness of God” and the Vedic Fair shows us how. Houston now looks forward to the next year’s theme “Lakshmi, The Divine 8”, which is Vedic Fair’s 6th edition.

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Feedback from kids and parents:-
Saanika :  “Vedic Fair and Ashirwad have influenced my life in many ways. In general, slokas and the presentations have helped me breakthrough the shyness I had years ago and to learn about my heritage. I have been in Ashirwad for about 7 years now. When I was younger, I had pretty good memory but after pursuing slokhas, I feel my memory has been enhanced so much that I can digest knowledge rapidly. At debate competitions, we have to memorize points, plans, and citations in thirty minutes to give a 7-minute speech and I can memorize them in no time at all. I can truly and genuinely say that slokhas have proved beneficial to me as well as my extra-curricular activities. Thank you Ashirwad!”

Ayushi : “My experience from Vedic Fair really helped me understand our culture and religion. After learning about my religion I think that I can benefit in many ways”. Ms Sapru’s topic this year was “If GOD is everywhere, why do we worship idols?”

Mahima : “It was very nice to hear kind words of appreciation for Ashirwad for organizing a beautiful event promoting Indian culture and heritage. My work at front desk proved to be very rewarding when I heard all positive comments”.