Navratri & Ravan Dahan at Lake County Temple

Ram Lila by children
Ram Lila by children

CHICAGO: The word ‘Ma’ brings to our mind the images of love. To experience this very love, thousands of devotees gathered at Hindu Mandir of Lake County to celebrate the festival of ‘Dasara’ and offer their obeisance.

Navaratri celebrations were conducted at the temple in a traditional way with lots of religious spirit from 5-13 Oct and concluding it with Ravan Dahan. Temple priests Anil Joshi and Ganesh performed Kalash Sthapana with Ganapati and Devi poojan. Different community people participated in this event by bringing their family kalash for the blessings of Ma Durga. Everyday Ma Durga Saptasati chanting was done by the devotees.

Ma Durga and Sarva Deva Abhishekam were performed everyday with Vaidic mantras. Everyday different nevedam and alankarams were performed. Traditional Gujarati community Aarti and Archana were performed by a large group of people in the morning sessions. Evening programs included Ma Durga’s aarti followed by Ras Garba and Dandiya dances organized by Vipin Patel and Garba team with the help of sponsors. This event was made attractive by traditionally dressed youth and adults.

Eleven Kunda Ashtami yagnam was performed first time in the temple by Pt. Anil Joshi along with 150 different Indian community devotees. In addition to this, other rituals were simultaneously performed. Amidst these rituals, Pt. Joshi continuously chanted various hymns from the Vedas, joined by all the devotees present at the Yagna mantapam. Homemade prasadam was distributed to all the devotees.

Geetha Patil and Pt. Anil Joshi made the dhanya alankars for Ma Durga which made special attraction of Asthami day for thousands of people followed by Maha chowki celebration lead by Anu Gupta and team. Pushpam, phalam and sag (vegetables) alankars were also performed for Ma Durga.

Pt. Joshi pointed out that “we are paying our thanks to Mataji for all we get from the Bhomi Mata who herself is Devi Ma by making all these unique beautiful alankars to her. In addition to alankaram week-long rituals were conducted in the divine Devi presence for the welfare of the whole world. The flowers that we offer in worship to Ma are not those that grow on plants but they need to be our virtues like non-violence, peace, and love.”

The Dasara celebrations came to an auspicious close on October 13. About 60 children from different Indian communities and age groups performed Ramlila which turned out to be a great attraction for thousands of people who had gathered to encourage the children to preserve our Hindu culture and tradition. The children expatiated on various virtues by depicting scenes from Ramayana where the characters embodied these virtues, practiced them in their lives and thus attained ever-lasting fame and honor.

The Ramlila event was lead by Anu Gupta, Naveen Mishra and their dedicated team. Devotees relished different traditional items such as Chole Bhatura, Papadi Chat, Bhel Puri, Dhai Vada, Mix Pakoda, Dosa, Idli, Vada, Jilebee, Gulab Jamun and ice-cream prepared by Kamal Gupta, Neelkant and their committed team members. At the end, the procession of Lord Ram, Laxman and Hanuman was taken with Jai Shree Ram chanting by thousands of people in front of 20 feet high Ravan cutout made by Raj Pothdar, Madhu Dhon and team. Both priests performed Lord Ram pooja and finally set fire to the Ravan statue.

About 3000 people observed the beautiful fireworks and Ravan Dahan. President Harsh Kumar gave vote of thanks to hundreds of volunteer teams for making this celebration a grand success.

Geetha Patil

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