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Big Car Rally In Boston Area To Celebrate Shri Ram Mandir Inauguration

Brij Garg

Big Car Rally in Boston Area to Celebrate Shri Ram Mandir Inauguration

Greater Boston witnessed one of the biggest Car Rallies by Hindu American Community on January 20th, 2024.  Drivers braved frigid 16 degree F (minus 10 Celsius) temperatures and chili winds to participate in the rally to celebrate the inauguration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya (Birth place of Shri Ram) scheduled for January 22nd.  It had about 250 plus cars and over 500 attendees. One driver was spotted with Bhagwan Ram flag in his open convertible at Shri Radha Krishna mandir in Northborough! The main rally covered a total distance of 55+ miles, stopping at 4 temples enroute making it one of the longest rallies. 

The rally started at 7:30 AM after Puja from Sri Chinmaya Maruti mandir in Andover, Massachusetts.  It then continued to the main starting point at ISSO Swaminarayan Mandir at the riverfront in Lowell, and continued to three other mandirs: Shri Radha Damodar Mandir in Shrewsbury, Sri Radha Krishna Mandir in Northborough and concluded at Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland.  Devotees from several other mandirs: BAPS in Lowell, Satsang in Woburn, Dwarkamai in Billerica, Sarv Dev Mandir in Oxford and Sri Raghavendra Swami Matha, Shri Gita Mandir in Shrewsbury joined the main rally at one of the stopping points which added to the enthusiasm of the participants and also connected many mandirs in the support of the inauguration. 

At each stopping point, several youths representing the rally read out an invitation to the mandir to participate in the festivities related to the inauguration of the Ram Mandir. Temples and every Hindu American was requested to do puja-archana to the temple deity, light five diyas (Diwali), kirtan-bhajan, recitation of Hanuman Chalisa, ringing of bells and watching the online broadcast of the Pran Pratishta (consecration) at the newly built Ram Mandir in Ayodhya at 12:30 PM IST on January 22nd, 2024. 

The youths also read out brief statements about the divine qualities of Bhagwan Ram such as courage, sacrifice, justice, compassion, ideal behavior, and good governance (Ram Rajya) and how his example has influenced the culture in many southeast Asian countries where the kings have ruled in the name of Ram. (For example, the reign of Rama 9 of Thailand started in 1946 and extended till 2016).  They carried a small gift package containing Jap Malas, Hanuman Chalisa and a token cash offering.  The temples received them warmly and welcomed them with Kirtan, tilak and Prasad. 

At ISSO in Lowell, the resident Vivek swami blessed them and spoke about imbibing core qualities of Shree Ram.  At India Heritage foundation in Shrewsbury all Rally Participants received a copy of GITA and other books.  At the Radha Krishna Mandir in Northborough, they had kirtan and melodious aarti.  At Sri Lakshmi temple, everyone also received a Jap Mala to take home for doing their Japa of “Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram” or other mantra according to their own tradition.

The cars were decorated with orange color flags and bright signs of orange color proclaiming Jai Shri Ram (which can be translated as victory to the virtues because Ram is considered to be an embodiment of virtues).  When the Police departments in the four towns through which the rally was to pass were contacted regarding the rally, they were extremely cooperative and welcoming, signifying the excellent reputation the Indian community has with the law enforcement authorities.

A video of the rally has been uploaded on youtube platform at https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZnFsHRACy6Q

The rally had not been widely publicized, yet its popularity was spontaneous due to the reverence for Bhagwan Ram in Hindu culture and the long wait spanning five centuries for rebuilding the temple in Ayodhya. It is expected that Ayodhya will become a major pilgrimage center in near future.  Due to time limitations, not all temples could participate in the rally on this occasion.  It was organized by volunteers from several dharmic organizations such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) and many Hindu temples.

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