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Sri Rama Navami At The Hindu Temple Of New Hamshire

K. Arvind

Sri Rama Navami

At the

Hindu Temple of New Hampshire


சீதா கல்யாண வைபோகமே
Sita Kalyana Vaiboghame
ராமா கல்யாண வைபோகமே
Rama Kalyana Vaiboghame

“How grand and imposing the wedding of Sita and Rama is!”
--- A song composed by Sri Thyagaraja Swamy

The Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, Nashua, NH, held a grand celebration of Sri Rama Navami, a festival that commemorates the birth of Lord Sri Rama, on Saturday April 16th 2016. The program included a “Laksharchana” (worship service in which the various sacred names of Sri Rama are collectively chanted a hundred thousand times) and “Seeta Rama Kalyanotsavam”, a reenactment by devotees of the celestial wedding of Sri Rama and Sita Devi.


Lord Sri Rama, his consort Sita Devi, his brother Sri Lakshmana and Lord Hanumanji together appear as “Sri Ram Parivar” (the family of Sri Rama) in a dedicated sanctum at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire. Lord Sri Rama is considered the very personification of Dharma (रामो विग्रहवान धर्म: - ramo vigrahavaan dharmah), and his life teaches us how to face the challenges of life gracefully. Sri Rama Navami, a festival which commemorates the birth of Sri Rama, is an important festival that is celebrated annually at Hindu Temples all over the world. An important part of the celebrations is the joyful reenactment of the wedding of Sri Rama and Sita Devi at the Temple by devotees with much of the color and excitement of an Indian wedding - costumes, rituals, music, food and all. This reenactment called “Sita Kalyanam” (wedding of Sita), or “Sita Rama Kalyanotsavam” (celebration of the wedding of Sita and Rama), is considered auspicious to participate in. This essay from the Harvard Pluralism Project captures the essential elements of the celebration.


Sri Rama Navami was celebrated this year at the Hindu Temple of New Hampshire on Saturday, April 16th. The festival started in the morning with Ganapathi Pooja, with prayers for the removal of obstacles in conducting the event. This was followed by kalasa sthaapana, a ritual invocation of divinity. Volunteer ritwiks led by Sri Veeramani and Sri Balakrishna Sastry conducted a Laksharchana, a worship service in which the various sacred names of Sri Rama were collectively chanted a hundred thousand times. Namasmarana or dwelling on the divine is an important device prescribed in Hinduism for attaining joy in life in these modern times of the kali yuga.

Sita Kalyanam was celebrated in the afternoon. Smt. Usha Dwarak who was an organizer and active participant in the event describes the afternoon celebrations as follows. Preparations for the Sita Rama Kalyanotsavam began during the afternoon with alankaarams (bedecking and decoration) of the divine bride Sita Devi and the divine groom Sri Rama. The divine couple were placed on a swing (“oonjal” in Tamil) with Sri Lakshmana and Sri Anjaneya witnessing the event. Devotees prepared and brought all the traditional wedding sweets and savories including paruppu thengai, and displayed them neatly on a platform. Youngsters Aravind Sathappan and Srikrupa Satyavageeswaran began the event on an auspicious note by singing “hanuman chalisa” in five different ragas. All rituals typical of a traditional Hindu wedding in Tamil Nadu such as the “pratisarabandam” (tying of yellow thread around wrists), “ankuraarpanam” (sowing of seeds) or “paaligai” by all the ladies, “malai maatral” (exchange of garlands by the bridge and groom), “oonjal” (gentle rocking of the bride and groom on a swing), “pravaram” (announcement of the lineage of the bride and groom), “maangalya pooja” (sanctification of the sacred thread necklace), “maangalya dhaaranam” (the groom endowing the bride with the sacred thread necklace), “laaja homam” (ritual offering to the sacred fire) and “saptapadii” (affirming wedding vows as seven steps are taken around the sacred fire) and “upachara seva” (hospitality to the Lord) were perfomed. The ladies present sang the traditional wedding songs in a chorus including “maalai maatrinaal”, “kannoonjal aadi”, and “pavanaja stutipatra”, as appropriate for each ritual. During the upachara seva, students of Bharati Vidyashram sang “achyutaashtakam”, “hanuman chaalisa” and several other shlokas. The event concluded with all the ladies taking turns to do mangala haarati to the divine couple. This was followed by a sumptuous wedding feast for all the devotees.


The Hindu Temple of New Hampshire, which has been serving the cultural and religious needs of the Hindu community in the Nashua and Greater Boston area, started its operations 8 years ago in a small rented space in a commercial plaza off the busy Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua, NH, and then expanded to a larger, relatively more sequestered rented space located at 1 Progress Avenue in Nashua, NH. The current premises were purchased by the Temple about 3 years ago to accommodate the growth of its devotee population and the increased scope of its service activities. During these 8 years of operation, the Temple has been visited, graced and blessed by many well-known spiritual leaders and scholars including the founder of the Art of Living movement Padma Vibhushan Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar, the prolific and popular Vaishnavite scholar and exponent Sri U. Ve. Vellukudi Krishnan Swamy, the Dasa Sahitya expert Dr. Aralumallige Parthasarathy, who has been spreading awareness about Srimad Bhagavatham and Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam all over the world, Prof. Subrahmonia Iyer, former Dean of Academic Affairs, IIT Bombay, Shri Shenkottai Hari, the well-known Bhagavathar and expert in Divya Nama Sankeertana and Sampradaya Bhajans, Smt. Poornimaji and Sri Ramanujamji, senior disciples of HH Maharanyam Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, a proponent of Nama Sankeertana, and Sri Siddheswarananda Bharati Swamiji, Shankaracharya Paramahamsa of Courtallam Mutt. In addition to the religious and spiritual activities that form its core, the Temple has also been involved in various cultural and service activities to benefit the community, in conjunction with Bharati Vidyashram, the cultural arm of the Temple. For more information about the Temple, please contact Sri Veeramani Ranganathan at mailto:rveermani@gmail.com.


A team from Bharati Vidyashram will be participating in the “Walk for Hunger” in Boston on Sunday, May 1, 2016, to raise funds to help end hunger in our state. Every May over 40,000 people participate in this 20 mile walk around Boston. This year the walk is just 10 miles due to construction work in Boston. We invite you to join the Bharati Vidyashram team in the walk and/or sponsor team members with your pledges and help us raise funds for the noble cause of feeding the needy. Please contact Smt. Komala Gopalan at komala@gmail.com for further details.

Please also join us in our 2nd Bike for Dharma on June 4th, 2016.


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