Dwarkamai celebrates Sai Palki Utsav

Saibaba aarti
Saibaba aarti

CHICAGO: Dwarkamai organized its annual Sai Rainbow cultural program and annual Spiritual Walk Festival called “Shri Shirdi Sai Palki Utsav”, on Saturday, March 28 at Eisenhower Junior High School, Hoffman Estates, a northwest suburb of Chicago.

The event was attended by about 500 people including families and kids, who participated and celebrated the grand event, laced with cultural programs and Palki (palanquin) procession of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba.

The event got kicked off with the chanting of Sri Hanuman Chalisa and Guru Datta in the divine presence of Shri Sai Baba (idol and a picture); placed in flower bedecked silver Sai Palki (palanquin). The chanting was led by Sekhar Devarapalli of Chicago Baladatta Center, which was followed by singing of national anthems of USA and India by a group of children.

The bearers of the Palki holding their silver Raj Dhand (royal and pompous sticks) were dressed in cute and traditional Indian palki bearer’s dress (Bhaledhar attire), embroidered with colorful stones.

The cultural performances were emceed by Anita Ravindra Kumar and Venu Mattey. Performances included a mix of song and dance sequences from various parts of India, with a blend of spiritual, folk and Bollywood style items. Each performance was received by the audience with thunderous applause.

The cultural event was followed by a grand temple-like procession. It reminded many participants of the traditional temple processions held in India; where all the participants in the procession such as men, women, kids and children alike dance in front of the men-drawn chariot with temple deities, to the tunes of songs, glorifying the temple god.

The Palki adorned by Sai Baba deity was shoulder-lifted by the men and rest of the revelers danced with traditional temple brass bells (manjira) and decorated bamboo sticks (dandiya) in groups enjoying the occasion. The procession concluded with a grand Harathi (oil lit temple lights) performed by all the participants to seek the blessings of the Lord.

Local business owners from Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg area displayed colorful Indian dresses and ornaments for sale at the “Sai Mela” in the school corridors, which added color to the festivities.

The event was preceded and followed by a sumptuous Indian breakfast and lunch. The Annadanam was sponsored by the volunteers of Dwarkamai. All the interested devotees who attended this event and are interested to attend future events can visit www.Dwarkamai.org, to get to know more details about the upcoming temple at Schaumburg, IL.

Dwarkamai based in Naperville, Illinois is a non-profit organization, started by the devotees of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, a saint well-known for his wisdom, secular and spiritual inclusivity. Massachusetts has three branches in and around Boston metro.

This organization does not promote raising huge funds for larger real estate development. To minimize costs and to maximize devotion, it has been running temple facilities in rental places, which involves bare minimum costs to the devotees. The organization is run entirely by volunteers. Their concept is to boost devotion at a minimum startup cost and latter convert the facilities into a permanent place of worship in each of the location.

Dwarkamai plays major roles in community drives including running sport tournaments to facilitate support to local Boston children’s hospital and Perkins School of Blind and back-to-school program for needy children. It is planning to either rent or own a place, near Schaumburg area to house the deities of Sai Baba and Dattatreya. The plan is also to use the facility to provide other voluntary services such as health care to the needy devotees and community members; Ayurveda (traditional Indian herbal healing form) and pranic healing and yoga camps. The facility and the services are planned to be manned and run by volunteers.

The event held on Saturday was very successful and all the devotees had a lot of “spiritual fun and frolic”.

Jagan Bukkaraju

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