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A joyous Ganesh Chaturthi celebration at HTA

By Mahadev Desai
October 2014
A joyous Ganesh Chaturthi celebration at HTA

Auction of the 120 pound ladoo. (Photo: Kireeti Vaggu)

 

The Hindu Temple of Atlanta organized a spectacular, spiritual Ganesh Chaturthi celebration on September 6, 2014. As in the previous year, the majestic six feet Ganapathi idol was specially made in Hyderabad for the Hindu Temple and gracefully installed in the yaaga shala for the celebrations.

So on a bright, crisp Saturday morning many devotees, guests, and visitors thronged to the Temple to participate in the culmination of the nine day celebration with a grand Ganesh nimajjanam (immersion) ceremony. The celebration had begun with 40 shanku sthapana (conch shells) and puja at the Balaji Temple followed with mandala sthapana at the Siva Temple.

The dazzling idol of Lord Ganesh, resplendent in rich adornments, artistic décor, and lavish fresh flower garlands was a perfect setting for yagnam (maha Ganapathi homam) and maha Ganapathi abhishek conducted in the yaaga shala between Balaji and Siva Temples. The elaborate rituals were performed by priests Sri Srinivas Sarma ji, Sri Pawan Kumar ji; Sri Shiva Naga Kumar ji, and Sri Sunil Kumar ji, around the homa kunda with a blend of fruits, flowers, and puja accessories; they conducted homam chanting shlokas and apt Ganesha mantras. Devotees joined in chanting vakra-tundda maha-kaaya, surya-koti samarabha, nirvighnam kuru me deva sarva karyessu sarvadaa (O Lord Ganesha of curved trunk, large body, and the brilliance of a million suns, please make all my works free of obstacles, always).

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Devotees in a raucous and festive mood. (Photo: Dr. B. K. Mohan)

Deities in the Balaji and Siva Temples were also dazzling in their ornate fineries and colorful fresh flower and fruit garlands. The priests cheerfully performed archanas through the day blessing all who came to offer prayers. In the Balaji Temple 40 shanku sthapana was done and the conches were attractively displayed for viewing and prayers. Ganesh Chaturthi puja was also performed inside the Temple by Chinmaya Atlanta Balavihar children. Many devotees also observed Ganesh vratha.

Attendees relished a varied menu of delectable South Indian food prepared under the supervision of Food Committee Chairperson Seshu Sarma and served by dedicated volunteers.

For the Ganesh nimajjanam ceremony, the Temple Chef Ramakrishna had prepared a big ladoo (Ganesh ji’s favorite) weighing 120 pounds! After offering it to Ganesh ji, the ladoo (maha prasadam) was auctioned and sold to the highest bidder for $4,000. Devotees then took Ganesh murti on prakara utsavam, in a procession around the Temple to accompaniment of drums, musical instruments, chanting, singing, and fireworks.

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Ganesh ji being taken to the lake for immersion. (Photo: Kireeti Vaggu)

It was time to bid final farewell to much-loved Ganesh ji. A motorcade of about 35 cars with police escort left for Lake Jackson. At the lake, Ganesh ji was carried on a boat to the middle of the lake and, as over 200 devotees watched from the decks and a second boat nearby, Ganesh ji’s nimajjanam ceremony was performed with great fanfare and to the joyous shouts of Ganapati Bappa Moriya and wishes for His return the following year. As they say,“with the immersion ceremony the Form (physical) returned to the Formless (spiritual). Ganapati idol became one with the lake water.

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Nimmajjanam at Lake Jackson. (Photo: Kireeti Vaggu)

An elated HTA President Narender Reddy commented, “Like last year, this year’s celebration was also well attended. The parents were happy that their children could experience the joy that they themselves experienced as children. The children were excited and thrilled to participate in the puja and watch all the elaborate rituals. I sincerely thank all those volunteers who with their devotion and commitment made this event a grand success.”

Website Bonus Feature

Video:
Hindu Temple of Atlanta Ganesh Nimarjanam celebrations 2014 USA.
Kireeti V
Published on Sep 16, 2014
"Ganesh Nimarjanam celebrations 2014 at Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA.
This is how we celebrate in Atlanta....!"


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