PEARLAND – Sri Meenakshi Temple in Pearland, the first Shakthi temple outside India, is perhaps at its most resplendent ambiance and activities during Navarathri times. This year, that excellence was advanced a notch further with an exquisite display of Kolu, with the dazzling Alankarams at the Saivaite and Vaishnavaite Sannidhis, the cultural programs by established and budding talents of the community and the ever increasing number of devotees visiting the temple.
The nine days of celebration during Navarathri is dedicated to Goddess Durga, the deity of power, Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and Goddess Saraswathi, the deity of knowledge. The first three days of worship are symbolic commitment to energy that triumphs over all that is evil, while the second section is to acquire materialistic and spiritual wealth to nurture existence, and the last three days are dedicated to knowledge and Arts. The Alankarams on the Saivaite side were with themes of Sri Raja Rajeshwari, Meenakshi Jananam, Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, Meenakshi Pattabhishekam, Meenakshi Digvijayam, Dakshina Moorthy, Kundathoranukku Annamittal, Mahishsura Mardhini, and Siva Pujai. On the Vaishnavaite side, they were Sri Vaikunta Nathan, Sri Lakshmi Narayan, Sri Venugopalan, Sri Vamana Moorthy, Sri Rama Pattabhishekam, Sri Mohini Avatharam, Sri Gagendra Mokham, Sri Kalinga Narthanam, and Sri Saraswathy.
Each day our erudite priests created the phenomenal displays with the help of our creative artisans and offered the visiting devotees an educational yet sublime experience.
As the yardstick demonstration of Navarathri is through the display of Kolu, and as Sri Meenakshi Temple is the abode of Goddess Meenakshi, this year, we chose the theme, “STHREE SHAKTHI”, The Power of Feminine, as an appropriate gesture and offer to our presiding deity, the supreme Divine Feminine Power responsible for creation, protection and Liberation. The symbolic understanding of Hindu Pantheon where the male deities represent the Matter and the female that of Energy, the concept very much aligns with the modern understanding of physical and metaphysical phenomena of the universe.
Meticulously conceived by the temple chairman Padmini Nathan and director Nachal Sethuraman, and painstakingly crafted by our most ingenious Silpis, the elaborate Kolu was laboriously constructed through many weeks and displayed in the spacious premises of the Ganesh Temple. The focus of the theme is portraying the feminine energy as highlighted through the values of devotion, forgiveness, fiery courage to uphold righteousness, revolt for self-respect, and sacrifice for integrity that imbibe and empower the traditions and heritage of India. Through the stories of Andal, Kannaki, Sita, and Draupadi, the display generously narrates the essence of the principles. Another popular highlight of the Kolu was of ‘chiranjeevi’ Hanuman, his exploits conveying his ultimate devotion, intelligence and strength. If the set-up of the ‘Rural Scenes’ of Tamilnadu with the theppakulam, temple premises and the village settings kindle our nostalgic sentiments, the sleeping Kumbhakarna, Gajendra Moksham, Brahmotsavam and the likes elicit an array of familiar emotions.
As the steady stream of devotees enthusiastically examine, appreciate and discover from the excellent Kolu displays, the reality that such traditional, Indian, cultural extravagance is happening in the Texas cowboy country, is certainly bound to be an astounding realization, perhaps only to be conceived as one of absolute divine allowance.