Ram Lila performance on the stage attracted / Images -Bijay Dixit
Earlier this month, the Shri Sita Ram Foundation, USA hosted the 12th International Diwali-Dussehra Festival at the Fort Bend Epicenter in Rosenberg, Texas. The event, which spotlighted Indian heritage in the U.S, was attended by local dignitaries and consul generals from nearly a dozen countries.
The event featured 200 flags representing countries from across the globe, stage performances, including the Shiv Tandav dance, a Lion dance from Vietnam, and an Egyptian dance along with a talent show, in which over 20 children showcased their skills in singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments.
Chinna Jeeyar Swami was the chief guest at the event
Padma Bhushan Chinna Jeeyar Swami, a Vedic scholar from India graced the event as the chief guest. “It is truly remarkable to experience the rich traditions and values celebrated at the Diwali Dussehra festival. The performances by various international artists enriched the universal principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, that the world is one family,” he remarked.
Special guests of honor included Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston System, Congresswomen Lizzie Fletcher from Houston, Fort Bend County Judge KP George and District Court Judge Surendran Pattel.
Fort Bend Epicenter decorated, with Shri Ram's image in the foreground
A grand parade with over 40 floats representing various organizations as well as The Ravan Dahan, a burning effigy symbolizing the victory of Lord Ram over the demon Ravan were among the highlights of the event. The Consul General of India, D C Manjunath, served as the grand marshal of the parade.
Dignitaries being facilitated on the stage by Dr. Arun Verma
“This event has become a significant part of Houston's cultural landscape, showcasing the essence of Diwali through Ramlila, diverse dance forms, and vibrant community participation. It's now an eagerly awaited annual celebration, appreciated worldwide for its message of light over darkness,” Manjunath said.
Paintings devoted to Lord Ram by Baba Satyanarayan Maurya, were displayed in addition to other traditional and handmade products at the booths. The event culminated with a captivating laser show and traditional Garba dance around the fountain.
Kids Talent Show
"Attending the International Diwali-Dussehra Festival is a vibrant and exciting experience for youth. It's an eagerly anticipated annual event to learn about diverse cultures and create lasting memories with friends," said Haripriya Sundar, president of Young Hindus of Greater Houston (YHGH) and a parade participant.
Renu Khator, commented: “My most memorable take away is seeing young children proudly wearing national attire, performing cultural dances, and learning about Indian mythology. This experience alone is transformational because it is an investment in our future.”
Renu Khator Speaking on Stage
In his address, Dr. Arun Verma, founder of Shri Sita Ram Foundation extended his heartfelt gratitude to all the sponsors, dignitaries, foreign consulates, volunteers, vendors, and the community for gracing the occasion with their presence. “The festival was a celebration and a testament to our collective commitment to preserving and promoting our rich cultural heritage to the Indian Diaspora and the rest of the world,” he maintained.