Thousands of Hindu devotees celebrate Pran Pratishtha in Tristate 

Pran Pratishtha ceremony at Yogi Divine Society in New Jersey Jan. 22, 2024. PHOTO Yogi Divine Society

Hindus in America celebrated the opening of the historic Ram Mandir in Ayodhya by holding simultaneous joyful celebrations including prayers, processions, chanting on this side of the globe. Thousands of devotees in New Jersey and New York carried out rituals and other religious activities as they watched the live telecast of Pran Pratishtha in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh Jan. 22, 2024.

In Parsippany, New Jersey, when temperatures were a frigid minus 10 Celsius, devotees rallied in some 25 cars to start their Prabhat Pheri (morning round) to 9 temples situated in Morris County, NJ.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh being presented a painting of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya by Jayant Patel, management committee member of Yogi Divine Society, Jan. 22, 2024, in New Jersey. PHOTO: ITV Gold

Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman and CEO of Parikh Worldwide Media which publishes Desi Talk, was the chief guest at Yogi Divine Society.

In his speech, Dr. Parikh called the Ayodhya Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha a historic event. “After waiting 500 years, Bhagwan Ram finally got his place back in Ayodhya,” he said, calling it a “great victory” for Sanatan Dharm which always believed in Lord Ram. “He taught us by his example to always be truthful, follow your obligations and make sure truth always wins.” He reminded those present that Hindu organizations in the US had sent the waters from the rivers here, including those in New Jersey, to Ayodhya, and that water had been used by PM Modi in the Pran Pratishtha ceremony “And so we feel part of it and feel blessed.” He urged everyone to recite the Hanuman Chalisa for the next 10 days and to teach the next generation about it.

Stopping at each temple including the Yogi Divine Society, the procession of cars was joined by others during the journey of the “car sevaks,” said Pramod Bhagat, one of the organizers, making a pun on the Hindi word ‘kar.’

Apart from the Yogi Divine Society, the other temples visited in Morris County, NJ, during the Prabhat Pheri included Haridham Mandir in Randolph; BAPS Mandir in Parsippany; Shri Sanatan Mandir, also in Parsippany; ISKCON in Towaco; Vrajdham Mandir, Parsippany; Chappaiya Dham Mandir, Parsippany; Shri Sai Venkaiah Mandir, Parsippany; and I Love Sai Mandir, Parsippany.

“Before the Prabhat Pheri, we wondered if anyone would brave the temperatures and come,” Bhagat said. “Our assumptions were very limited.” Instead of 200-300 people, the devotees showed up in the thousands, he said. “All records were broken.”

Pramod Bhagat, organizer of the Prabhat Pheri, 2nd from right with arm outstretched, during a historic Ram Temple event held at Sanatan Temple, Parsippany NJ, Jan. 22, 2024. PHOTO: Courtesy Pramod Bhagat

In every temple visited, a Ram Parivar Darshana was held, in which the temple management and devotees took part. Each temple was free to hold their prayers in the way they wanted, lasting some 15 to 20 minutes.

The Prabhat Pheri went on from 7 am to 2 pm, with a break of a few hours, after which each temple observed various rituals and attendees danced and sang. At BAPS Swaminarayan temple close to 1,700 devotees came, and at Sanatan temple in Parsippany, more than 500 people gathered. Celebrations went on till the early hours of the next morning.

Pran Pratishtha ceremony at Edison, NJ Ram mandir. PHOTO: BAPS

While the Pran Pratishtha was happening in India, the devotees in New Jersey and New York could be seen with tears in their eyes, Bhagat said.

BAPS Swaminarayan temple in Robbinsville, NJ, along with more than 100 BAPS mandirs across North America joined the inauguration celebrations. “The mandirs were transformed into stunning displays of devotion, adorned with lights, diyas, and rangolis depicting Shri Ram and the new mandir. The celebrations also included vibrant processions, an elaborate Annakut, and enlightening speeches by revered swamis and community leaders and guests,” BAPS said in a press release.

Pran Pratishtha ceremony at Ram Mandir in New York. PHOTO: courtesy BAPS

At Times Square, hundreds came from New Jersey and New York, to celebrate the opening of the Ram Temple in India. The Indian Consulate in New York, on its Facebook page, India in New York, posted pictures of the crowds, and said, “Indian Diaspora illuminated Times Square with a spectacular celebration of the Pran-Prathistha at Ram Mandir, Ayodhya. #AyodhyaRamTemple Dressed in traditional Indian attire, they passionately chanted bhajans and songs, showcasing India’s cultural heritage, vibrancy and unity.”

Times Square boasted a massive picture of Lord Ram with the dhanush. PHOTO: Facebook @India in New York(1)

Other major temples in New York including the Mahavallabha Ganpati Sthanam, the Hindu Center, the BAPS temple, and the Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple, all located in Flushing, Queens, held supporting ceremonies to the Prana Pratishtha ceremony in Ayodhya.

Shri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam with 3,600 recitation, was part of 100 crore international Hanuman Chalisa recitation for successful completion of the construction of Šri Rãm Mandir at Ayodhya. Special prayer services were also held on January 22, 23 and scheduled for 24th, with Šri Rãma Tãraka Mantra Homam, Kalaša Abhishekam, Nãma Japam, Sloka Pãrãyanam, Hanumãn Abhishekam, Hanumãn Sahasranama Pooja, and Nãma Japam.

The Hindu Center celebrated the ceremony in Ayodhya from 10:00 pm of January 21, to 2:00 am of January 22 with live telecast of India ceremony, bhajans and cultural programs, Abhishek and Maha Aarti. Langar Prasad was served and children were given toys as gifts.

On Sunday, January 21, the Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple, held a special Seetha Rama Abhisheka Pooja at 4:00 pm, followed by the Sundara Khanda Parayan at 5:00 pm.  The Swaminarayan Temple also held special chanting on the occasion.



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