Houston: Around 400 people from all walks of life participated in an event organised by the Shri Sita Ram Foundation (SSRF), a non-profit organisation, here as part of celebrations to mark the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The celebrations on Saturday began with the spiritual and soulful songs, followed by traditional Sundarkand recital, Ram Leela, Ram Bhajans, elaborate havan with a specially designed Vedika, and Lord Ram's Pattabhishek, and culminated with a procession of Lord Ram and distribution of a "specially flown-in prasad from Ayodhya".
The entire venue was decorated with countless Indian national flags and the flags for Lord Ram, with a 4'x8' replica of the Ram temple becoming a centrepiece of the event, capturing the hearts and attention of devotees.
"With the grace of Lord Ram, despite challenging weather, we celebrated his return after 500 years, amidst a huge gathering of devotees, priests and prominent leaders, with religious havan, cultural performances, and a captivating flower shower during the Ram Shobha procession," said Arun Verma, president of the Shri Sita Ram Foundation.
The foundation organizes annual cultural events in the Greater Houston area, Ram Leela Play in a prominent theatre, the annual Dussehra/Diwali festival at Constellation Field Skeeter's Stadium in Sugar Land and the annual Rath Yatra.
"Despite challenging weather conditions, the event successfully drew both Indian Americans, mainstream Americans and various officials, including participants and priests from all temples here," Verma said.
Guests included Judge Julie Mathews, Judge Surendran Pattel, Dr Dasika from Shri Sharadamba temple, Umang Mehta from Deep Foods and priests from several temples.
An elaborate Havan was followed by a spectacular Arti accompanied by a helicopter showering floral petals. The precision of the helicopter's manoeuvres added to the surprise and visual delight.
"As a concluding gesture, attendees were treated to a specially flown-in prasad from Ayodhya, ensuring a memorable and spiritually fulfilling experience for all," Varma said.
The day-long event continued with an energetic parade, vividly depicting different phases of Lord Ram's life. Devotees sang and danced to the glory of Shri Ram during the Ram Shobha procession.
The new Ram Lalla idol was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on January 22, an event led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and watched by lakhs of people on television at their homes and in temples across the country.