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Grand 27-day Ram Navami celebrations held at Hanuman Mandir in Alpharetta

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, May 10, 2024: At the dawn of April 27, 2024, Ram Lalla experienced his first Ram Navami in his magnificent new home in Ayodhya. Adding to the day’s significance, a special ritual known as Surya Abhishek or Surya Tilak, where the Sun will grace the deity’s forehead with its divine rays, enhanced the festivities.

The excitement of the momentous occasion reached far and wide across the ocean, even in Atlanta, GA. With the advent of Ram Lalla and the inauguration of Ayodhya Temple in India, Hanuman Temple, Alpharetta, GA Board of Directors and priests wanted to thank everyone involved in this effort, thereby embarking on a 27-day-long Srimad Ramayana MahaYagnam at the temple. The grand celebration attracted close to 15,000 devotees on Sri Rama Navami day and the yagnam across 27 days.

“Our primary focus is to empower and support Loka Kalyanam (the wellbeing of the universe) and shower blessings of Lord Rama Parivar on everyone,” Murthy Chimalapati, BOD, Hanuman Mandir said.

The celebrations began on March 19th with Ankurarpana and Agni Mathanam – Fire invoked with Vedic mantras and chanting using friction to produce fire – which feeds the start of the MahaYagnam. All eight of the Hanuman Mandir priests, per tradition, took deeksha for the 27 days of the rituals.

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Each weekend was studded with special events such as Hanumad Vahana Sewa (Ram Parivar procession around the temple on Hanuman as Vahanam(vehicle)), Vasanthotsavam (Celebration of Colors by Lord Rama/his Ayodhya people), RajaDharbar (Special and Unique event to depict the RajaDarbar of Lord Rama – with special classical singing and dancing by well-known artists as cultural sewa to Lord Rama and Hanuman), Laksha Sindoor Archana with a special highlight of YogaSiddhaAnjaneya Swamy gracing this occasion, wherein devotees performed sindoor archana to the small Hanuman idol provided to sponsors (which they could take home after puja). We had cultural programs every weekend wherein 100+ artists have performed as sewa to Lord Rama.

On almost all of the 27 days, Pallaki Sewa for Lord Rama, Sita Mata, Laxman Swamy, and Hanuman was performed.

Daily morning yagnam began at 7 am with 24,000 of Valmiki Ramayanam chanted across the 27 days while performing yagnam. Purnahuthi was performed, and prasadam was provided to all the devotees each day. Each evening featured Nakshatra Homam (each day specifically for one nakshatra out of 27 nakshatra), starting with punarvasu (the nakshatra of Lord Rama), culminating in punarvau nakshatra – with celebrations of MahaPurnaHuthi, Avabrutha Snanam/Chakra Snanam for Rama Parivar, priests, and devotees in the morning of SriramaNavami day, followed by SitaRamaKalyanam, SriRamaPattabhishekam, and Kalyana Bhojanam (wedding feast) in the evening.

Throughout the 27 days, the temple cooks and volunteers served about 5,000 kgs of rice and other prasadams, which were distributed among visiting devotees. Ten thousand laddus prepared for the occasion were offered to devotees on the day of SitaRamakalyanam, along with Kalyana Bhojanam for 7000+ devotees that evening.

“Our priests worked tirelessly to make sure Vedic and all rituals are done perfectly per the agamas daily, wherein they worked 15-18hr days. Our temple volunteers who are pillars of the temple supported the event all 27 days, with hundreds of them selflessly performing activities needed to make this event a grand success for all of us,” Murthy said. He also extended thanks to all the grand sponsors and sponsors for their contributions and support to the temple, local organizations, and people (decorators, photo and video etc.,) that contributed and supported the event.

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