30 Countries joining Shri Sita Ram Foundation, Houston, Texas at its 9th International Diwali Dussehra Festival

Diwali  and Dussehra is the largest festival of Bharat celebrated by more than 1.35 billion people world wide. Shri Sita Ram Foundation has organized this festival  in the Houston area on a large scale in the fall of each year since 2012 to a capacity crowd of over 10,000 people at Skeeters Stadium in Sugarland, Texas.  

This festival has grown tremendously since it started  and continues to grow every year. The team is innovative in finding unique ways to promote Bharatiya Vedic culture to people of Houston, Texas and neighboring states.  Last year it initiated efforts to make it international by involving Consul Generals of 15 countries in the parade.  Participating Consulates this year has increased to over 20.

Over the years this festival has gained more recognition and has been attended by dignitaries such as Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, Mayor  Sylvester Turner of Houston, Mayor Zimmerman of Sugarland, other  Mayors and several Congressmen, Senators,  judges and members of the Consular Corps. in Houston.

This year, because of the pandemic, the event will be celebrated Semi – Virtually via Zoom, Facebook live, and YouTube live. Virtual nature of the event has created an opportunity to expand  Bharat’s culture and soft power rapidly to other countries than originally planned.

This year representatives of over 30 countries are participating in the event. Foundation has received a tremendous response to our call to join us in an international effort to celebrate this festival celebrating ‘Victory of Good Over Evil’, and showcase Bharat’s culture and soft power worldwide. Temples, Performers and viewers will be participating from several countries as a result of this outreach effort by the Foundation team.

The Foundation continues to add new features to this festival. A highlight for this year will be the live performance by Padma Shri Anuradha Paudwal ji via Zoom from Mumbai. It will be a delight to hear her velvet voice on the 7th Nov. Apart from Padma Shri, she has won the Filmfare award 4 times, has been a recipient of the Lata Mangeshkar award and several national and international awards and recognition.

Another feature added this year is  the inclusion of major temples, worldwide. To name a few from Bharat- Hanuman Garhi from Ayodhya, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam temple from Andhra Pradesh, Shri Jagannath temple from Puri , Prem Mandir and Shri Rangnath ji temple from Vrindaban, Kashi Vishwanath Temple,  Bhadrachalam Temple- Bhadradri Sita Ramachandra swamy Devasthanam from Telangana, Radha Govind ji temple from Jaipur, Shrinath ji temple from Nathdwara and several others temples are participating .

Several temples from US, Canada, New Zealand, Myanmar, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Thailand, Mauritius and others are also participating in the event this year to celebrate this major festival. All temples world wide will be showcasing their temples briefly and telling the viewer how they celebrate Diwali.

Another new feature which has received overwhelming response is the Ramayana skit contest where teams of participants from several countries will be competing with each other in showcasing skits/ episodes from Ramcharit Manas.

Another feature which shall be broadcast all over the world shall be Shri Sita Ram Kalyanam (the divine marriage of Sita ji and Ram ji) which will be enacted on stage this year by Hanuman Swami of Sri Rama Jaya Niketan, a new temple coming up in Katy, Texas

Apart from the new features added this year, the festival will present world class Ram Leela play, score of amazing dances, Dussehra parade, Ravan Dahan, Fire works and Maha Aarti. 

A feature involving highlights from prior years has also been added.

Several dignitaries from US and from Bharat are expected to join this Virtual event.

This festival is from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (CST) on the 7th Nov. 2020 and can be viewed on Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/ShriSitaRamFoundation) and YouTube Live (https://youtu.be/wueMezMzQ-Y). Links are also available at the Foundation website, www.ShriSitaRam.org. For enquiries please contact 713-597-6941 or email: [email protected]


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About the Author

Manu Shah
Manu Shah is a freelance writer for Indian-American publications. She lives in Houston, Texas.