Annual Shankabhishekam at Darwin Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple

By : Shashi Khanna.

An idol in a Temple is given life by reciting mantras on  an auspicious day. The idol is considered to have been born on that day whilst the birth star is calculated by time of Its consecration. Every year the idol’s

Birthday and Star is celebrated by renewing the mantras and rejuvenating the Shakti, power or life force of the idol. The Vara Siddhi  Vinayaka Temple is no different. Over the weekend we conducted the annual Shankabhishekam to rejuvenate and reinforce Darwin Siddhi Vinayaka on His birthday and birth star.
 
Festivities concluded with a mass Lakshmi Pooja performed by about 40 female devotees. It was a sight to behold, of beauty, grace, colour and devotion. They each invoked and brought to life Mahalaxmi in the form of a lamp to Whom flowers and fruit were offered in reverent worship. The Mahalaxmi mantras chanted by the visiting priest rend the air, which vibrated with auspiciousness and piety.

Memorial dedicated to Indian Anzacs to be unveiled in Sydney

Twelve Indian-origin soldiers volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force during WWI, according to the records in the National Archives of Australia

SBS News reports Diwali celebrations

SBS coverage of Deepavali celebration in Parramatta

Power to the People Rouse Hill Times

The Rouse Hill community has put up its dancing shoes to celebrate Diwali.

Karwachauth celebration at Darwin

By : Shashi Khanna.

Karwa chauth – ( The Mother in-law & Daughter in law day ) – the festival of Wife, Husband & mother in law!! surprised!! Yes dear, that’s the beauty and core of India. India lies in its family bonding and relationships. The care ,warmth, sacrifices, compromises, support is integral part of the love and compassion flowing within big family system of India’. World is surprised to still see the big joint families living togather, working togather as a united family. 

India ,the land of vibrant festivals and celebrations , celebrate each relationship brothers – sister,wife-husband, mother in law-daughter in law with a purpose and a particular flavour. Special rituals are followed, gifts are exchanged, Puja is performed and celebrated with great adoration and blessings for family. 
 
Karwa means the eathern pot of water and chauth means the fourth day after the full moon , Purnima. It is celebrated from sunrise to moon rise. Mother-in-law gives ‘Sargi’- the fruits,nuts,sweets, savoury ( mathi- the crisp chapati made of flour) along with jewellery, dresses in colours of red, bangles, Bindis, Henna ( things worn as symbols by the married Indian women) and lots of blessings and love for a happy married life.
 
 Fast is observed after eating sargi before the sunrise. Fasting women do not eat or drink till moonrise and Puja in the evening. Difficult! Yes! though, it’s been observed by every age of women. Now some husbands have also started giving company to their wives. The fast is observed for the long, healthy and prosperous life of the husband. Puja is performed in the evening with all ladies dressed to their beautiful best. On the moon rise , it is watched through a seive brightened by a lamp and then wife looks at her husband through that seive. Husband offers water from the karwa to his wife and the fast ends. Delicious meals are enjoyed with family. Now the daughter in-law gives gifts and sweets to her Mother in-law . 
 
This beautiful day is celebrated in all parts of  India with difference in rituals. The history says that this was celebrated by women whose husbands were far away, fighting for their country. 
 
The beautiful women of Darwin also celebrated this festival. Again I’m elated to mention a Fiji Indian lady Mrs Savita bhuwal Aryan Valadian organised the karwa chauth Puja at her place . Beautifully dressed ladies performed Puja with all rituals and blessings from Almighty. A big Puja was organised at Malak temple by the Hindu society of NT where many pretty ladies participated.
 
Celestial sea shores and water fronts of Darwin saw loving couples watching moon through the seives.The nature’s wonder at Nightcliff beach had the silvery moon light dancing on the waves of the sea and the beautiful stretch of the sea shore echoing with laughter of the nuptials struck by cupid. 
 
The amazing blend of modern and contemporary is seen during the Indian festivals on this biggest island – Australia. Laurels to the zeal of Indian culture whose unmatched charisma captivates all in its festivity.

Hindu Council Marks 20th Year

A brief history of formation and 20 years of Hindu Council of Australia.

Indian cultural society celebrates Dandia at Darwin Australia

By : Shashi Khanna.

Indian culture celebrates life with seasons, festivals and many events celebrated all across Indian states. Dandia and Garbha the divine dance to worship during Navratri is special from western states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Women and men clad in bright coloured traditional attire dance to the rhythmic tunes of worship. 
 

Dandiya NT Australia

 
Indian cultural society has been known to celebrate all festivals with great devotion and zeal. October 20,2018 ,Dandia night was organised at Harmony Hall ,Malak in Darwin. The vibrant event saw group of people from all religions and all faiths gathered to participate in dandia. Women clad in bright flowing dresses banged the divine atmosphere with dandia sticks, dancing on high beats of Indian music in circle. Dandiya form of dance uses sticks during the dance while Garbha has use of clapping hands while swaying the bodies in circular movements. 
 
 
It was wonderful to see people of age groups dancing in excitement. Aged and children all were equal participants with young people in dance. Beautifully decorated hall with flowers and bright glittering decorations added to the holy spirit of Dandiya. 
 
The mixed group of Punjabis, Gujaratis , south Indian and Fiji Indian gave a beautiful charm to the evening. A sumptuous elaborate dinner awaited all. After the zeal full dance dinner was enjoyed by all participants.
 
 
Team of Indian cultural society deserves congratulations and an applause for their beautifully organised event of Dandiya night which gathered all the Indian community together. 
It was indeed a beautiful display of love harmony and acceptance of all cultures, religions and faiths in the celestial natural background of Darwin at Northern Territory which has embraced all on this beautiful land of beaches and water fronts in Australia. 
 
 
I’m still awestruck by the feeling of unity and compassion in such vast diversities of language,culture,colour, lifestyle and faiths. My belief that God supreme is one but to reach him through various paths has found further strong deposition in my heart and mind.

Haifa Day Centenary Celebrated in Sydney Australia

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, an organization representing Jews in the New South wales state celebrated the centenary of the day the city of Haifa in Israel was liberated a hundred years ago. Over 100 members of the #Jewish and #Indian communities commemorated this 100th anniversary of the liberation of #Haifa during #WWI at Parramatta & District Synagogue. in North Parramatta on the evening of 21st October 2018.

Left:Linda Ben-Mashe, middle:Tara Sharma, Right:Mala Mehta and Shobha Deshiken

Lynda Ben-Mashe thanked Hindu Council of Australia for prompted the Jewish community of Sydney about the importance of Haifa Day and helping start the celebrations. Hindu Council was represented by its Directors Tara Sharma, Vijai Singhal and Surinder Jain.

Peter Allen-President NSW JBD, Surinder Jain-VP Hindu Council, Vijai Singhal-Director Hindu Council

Peter Allen, President of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies welcomed everyone. A historical record of Haifa day liberation and the valiant role of Indian troops was narrated by a historian. A Kathak dance by Niharika Sanghi and Pvitra Hathi enchanted everyone.

This was followed by reminiscences of childhood in Banglore by Renne who was born in banglore. Her mother still lives there while Renee has moved to Israel.

The final Indian bollywood style dance song by Loira Itzhak in Hebrew was enjoyed by everyone making the audience as well host dancing on the floor.

 

Ramnavami celebrated in Darwin Australia

By : Shashi Khanna.

Multi cultural community celebrate Ramnavmi & Ashtami at Malak temple , Darwin NT

Ramnavmi,birth of Lord Rama who is incarnation of God Vishnu(the creator) as said beautifully in Hindu scripture ‘Ramayana’.Its also the ninth day of Navratri – the 9 auspicious days of Puja and celebrations in India. All the regions and states in India celebrate these days in various forms and different styles.
Malak temple at Darwin at Northern Territory in Australia had crowd of chirpy devotees who gathered to celebrate this day. Durga Puja in Harmony hall which is adjoining the temple was continuing for past eight days. The Malak temple also known as Sri Sai temple is constructed in South India architectural design, beautiful colourfully carved tomb had idols of many deities over the Shivalinga. Idols of Lord Krishna , Nataraj , Ganesh ji adorn the temple room along with Goddess Lakshmi ( prosperity), Saraswati (wisdom & knowledge) and Durga ( power & strength) pictures hung on the ‘ parikarma’ ( the circular path around the main deity also  to look & bow before every form of God ). 
 
 
Many Lamps were lighted with Prasad offered by devotees layed on the huge table in front. The fragrance of flowers added to the pious atmosphere. 
 
The evening started with recital of Mantras from Vedas, all singing rhythmically with the temple priest and devotees. Singing in praise of Lord Shiva and applauding his grace in different forms mesmerized every one. Love and God’s praise doesn’t know any language or words but yes the emotions and feelings of every one present was connected to Almighty. Devotional bhajans followed, sung by devotees who sang with great zeal and enthusiasm. 
 
Hawan was performed in the temple compound with all rituals and blessings for everyone present and their families. 
 
It was really wonderful to see people from different states of India who have their roots there but still celebrate their values and beliefs as a united family in this foreign land. It seemed like a big joint family calling for God’s blessings togather. The importance of Yagya and hawan in this age of awareness of environmental pollution is scientifically proven. 
 
Community meals followed with food volunteered by members. A big feast of different tastes and delicacies further flavoured the divine and cultural atmosphere. 
 
I can’t hold myself to share my personal emotions to participate in these celebrations. India may be divided in various states but here I found ‘ a strong Indianness’ where all gathered to celebrate and be a part of everybody’s happiness and joy. All communities celebrate each and every festival giving regard and respect to every culture. I find myself awestruck to see the Fiji Indian community participating in the Vedic rituals. It is surely to be acknowledged how this group has been able to pass that cultural heritage to their generations who follows our spiritual heritage of Vedic times with all the perfection and zeal.
 
The vibrant support , participation and contribution Fiji Indian community is doing to save gaurd the prosperous and enriched Indian spirituality and philosophy is commendable. They are for sure an example for Individuals who have lost track, faith and trust in our Indian culture and pride of our oldest History of Hinduism. 
 
I salute and bow to their unmonitored and untaught zeal of religious heritage and their ancestors who were blessed with this vow. This will always have special place in my heart and mind followed in my writings. 
 
 
 

Durga Puja celebrated in Darwin Australia

By: Shashi Khanna.

MA DURGA’S BLESSINGS AT DARWIN,NT

Cultural Harmony at Harmony Hall , Darwin! 

October 13,2018 another cultural and religious initiative by the Indian community at Darwin. The occasion was the Durga Puja, first time celebrated at this magnanimous scale. The Puja & Durga society of Northern Territory was the organising body but a beautiful amalgam of all cultures and regions was witnessed at this beautifully managed event .
 Goddess Durga in her various incarnations of mother ,’Ma’ as affectionately called in Indian culture adorned a huge stage. The colourful , bright radiant stage with beautiful Rangoli ( the welcome symbols made as floor decorations with bright colours and flowers) welcomed all to a packed hall. Kum Kum and artistic paint work done on every lady who entered the hall clad in colours of red. Red colour in Indian attire being the dress code, one could see blooming ladies, chirpy girls swaying in bright Indian dresses. 
 

Darwin, NT, Australia 2018

 
Red being the Colour of holiness, vibrance,jubilation and prosperity in Indian mythology is worn usually by married women who are considered to be the symbol of all prosperity ( Goddess of Lakshmi). 
 
Durga Puja ,the 9 days of celebration of ‘Navratri ‘ is observed twice in a year .One in spring and this one in autumn, welcoming two seasons winters and summers. ‘Nau’ means nine in Hindi is celebrated for nine days .  The eighth day observed as ‘Ashtami’ when young girls are worshipped, celebrating the birth of a girl. To respect and regard the womenfolk of our families and society, giving them equality and honouring them for their mother hood.  Durga Puja celebrated in various parts of India has different rituals but eminently celebrated in Bengal, Gujarat and North India. 
 
Navratri also observed as fasting days for detoxification for our system, special kind of foods are eaten during these fasting days which ends on ‘Ashtami’ Pujan ,the eight day. Then ninth day as Ram navmi’ and tenth day as ‘ Dusshera’ when Lord Rama killed Ravana, as the mythological story says. 
 
Durga Puja is also celebrated as victory of good over evil. It’s not only the physical evil but the evils ,the devil inside us all, to win over the personality flaws of greed, lust,anger, ego and disillusion. To monitor and control ourselves for our righteousness and for a healthy society filled with respect, love, compassion and harmony amongst all. 
 
The event at Harmony Hall had divine aura of Ma blessing all devotees from various cultures and backgrounds. It seemed like Mini India gathered here. Women from Haryana, Uttrakhand in the north to Chennai and Bangalore in the south, from Rajasthan in the west to Bengal and Assam in the east. Our neighbours from Bangladesh, beautifully dressed participated with zeal and enthusiasm. The luscious Bengla sweets further honeyed the atmosphere when Prasad was distributed with variety of Bengal sweets, all home made ( important to mention). 
 
Puja and Archana was recited by the priest with flowers offered to the Goddess Durga and surrender to Almighty. 108 lamps lighted at the feet of Ma Durga with fruits , flowers and sweets for bhog. Durga Stuti and Saraswati Vandana was melodiously sung by an aged woman which was appreciated by all. Beautiful flower wall had many selfie clicks and added a beautiful background. 
 
Beats of the Dhol and drums swayed all to dance in devotion. The sound of rhythmic clapping captured the atmosphere, seemed like to outreach to Goddess residing in every soul promising to celebrate the journey of life and human birth. 
A sumptuous meal followed which was relished by all concluding with yummy Bengali sweets special ‘ Rasgulla ,Sandesh and Khir. 
 
A lively cultural program followed which was meticulously crafted for the occasion. Every day Navratri Puja is being held at the Hindu temple in Malak area of Darwin, Northern Territory for these 9 days.
 
This whole  day of Durga Puja celebration overtook my soul and how much I thanked ‘Ma’ , my family and myself for being able to witness this grandeur celebration in this far far land of Australia. I couldn’t believe, to see the spirit of participation, hard efforts and planning to solemnize the worship of Ma Durga who is beyond any caste , religion,culture and boundaries of land or ocean. To conclude , I must acknowledge ,how proud and overwhelmed I was of my rich Indian cultural roots which has deep significance to the core of human existence and blending values in its uniqueness. 
 
Thankyou so much Hindu council for allowing me to put my intense emotions into words. I’m grateful to the Puja & Cultural society of NT for this memorable day which I’ll carry across the world through social media platforms.