Puranava Fest 2023 in Houston Draws Thousands

By Sri Guruji’s immense grace, the 5th Annual Puranava Indian Art & Culture Fest, organized by Global Organization for Divinity Houston, was held on Saturday April 15, 2023. It attracted a moving crowd of well over 1200 attendees of all cultural backgrounds from around the Greater Houston area and other nearby cities, through the entire day.

The event, which was supported by a cultural arts grant by the City of Pearland (a major suburb of Houston) was held in the heart of Pearland at the outdoor pavilion in the Pearland Town Center Mall. A day that was forecasted to be rainy with possible thunderstorms, which made devotees pray and chant nama fervently, turned out by divine grace to be a glorious, sunny day, perfect for an outdoor event!

Several dignitaries attended the event including the Honorable Mayor of Pearland Mr. Kevin Cole, the Honorable Mayor of Manvel Ms. Debra Davison, Mr. Sandeep Chaudhary Consul for Culture & Commerce from Consulate General of India Houston, and Ms. Thara Narasimhan President of Hindus of Greater Houston. All the special guests had words of praise for the Puranava event and community service of Global Organization for Divinity.

The festival brought India together by showcasing both visual and performing arts from different regions of India. Many Indian artists from around the Houston area displayed their amazing paintings, artwork and crafts. Children could also try their hand at rangoli and other artwork. Performers presented classical and folk dances from different regions of India, including Assamese Bihu, Gujarati Garba, Kerala Thiruvathira, Punjabi Bhangra, Tamil Nadu Poi-Kaal Kudhirai, Odissi from Odisha, South Indian Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, and North Indian Kathak. An exhibit on Hindu civilization and culture was set up and presented by volunteers from HSS USA. The event concluded with a grand Chariot Fest where a ratham with Sri Srinivasa Perumal was pulled by devotees around the street, to the chanting of “Govinda Govinda.” Some of the dance performances were also presented in front of the ratham. The chariot parade culminated with a vibrant Mahamantra kirtan and prayer.

Earlier in the day, about 150 children of all ages participated in youth competitions in Chess, Art, Classical Music and Classical Dance that were conducted through the afternoon and presided over by expert judges from around Houston area. The Puranava India Quiz competition was also conducted online earlier in the week. Awards for all the competitions were distributed that evening at the Culture Fest event.

All day long, there were vendors selling ethnic clothes, accessories, beautiful handicrafts, children’s toys, mehendi art and other services. Delicious Indian vegetarian street food including south and north-Indian dishes, chaat, juices, and cotton candy was procured, prepared and sold by G.O.D.’s entirely volunteer-run ‘Kicha’s Kitchen’ and was a big hit with the attendees.

Love to Share Foundation America also conducted a Pet Supplies Drive that supported the City of Pearland Animal Welfare Services. Mr. John Fischer, animal services manager, received the supplies donations at Puranava event.

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