Cumberland Holi Festival on 24th March 2019

Holi will be celebrated at Civic Park on 24th March 2019.

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Diwali celebrated in Strathfield

By : Rajeev Bhandula.

Hindu Council of Australia celebrated Deepawali in Strathfield on 18th November 2018 at Strathfield Park. The event was supported by Strathfield Council.

Diwali in Strathfield 2018

Over 1500 people attended from different communities including Australians and korean community. Jody Mckay Member of Parliament of state from strathfield and Gulian Vacari Mayor of Strathfield attended the event and welcomed by Mr.Jay Raman NSW President Hindu Council of Australia NSW.

There were 12 stalls which include Food, Real Estate, Indian dresses,Yoga stall and Ekal Youth stall. There were Free Rides and Free Mehndi which was attraction for children and Ladies.

Cultural Programme started from 11am and went through till 4.30pm. There were classical dances, Bollywood Dances and songs which were sung by Mr Vijay Jogia well known singer in Australia.

Nice Weather helped the event as well. Overall event was well recieved and enjoyed
by attendees.

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Anglican Retirement Village in Sydney celebrates Diwali

The Ponds is a new suburb of Sydney situated in the North West growth corridor, where the first stage of a major shopping centre and commercial space have opened. The new suburb was designed to make the estate a new community. The first lots of land were released on 31 March 2007.

There are a number of churches, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Every Nation Christian Church, Blessed John XXIII Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Rosary, Rouse Hill Anglican Church, The Salvation Army – Rouse Hill Region , Hillsong Church, NewHope Baptist Church and Life Anglican Church Quakers Hill.

The residents of Anglican Retirement Village celebrating Diwali

Anglican Retirement Villages, Diocese of Sydney (ARV) was a not-for-profit public benevolent institution formed in 1959. ARV retained its distinctive Christian and social credentials, and served some 6000 people across community care, independent living and assisted living services.

Anglican retirement village in The Ponds celebrated Diwali for its residents, most of them Christians. Mr Tara Chand Sharma, Director, Hindu Council of Australia attended the retirement village Diwali celebration and explained to them the significance of Diwali.

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Parliament House Diwali 3rd Dec

3rd December 2018 in Federal Parliament house, Canberra.

Click here to join bus trip from Sydney for Canberra Diwali

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Ramayana puppet show from Prague performed in Sydney

By : Mohan Vijayraghavan.

Lenka and Eric who are puppeteers from Prague, performed a Puppet Show at Hindu Council of Australia’s Deepavali festival held at Parramatta on 4th November 2018.

Lenka and myself are associated for about 8 years now and have done some shows in Hindu education camps and at the Powerhouse museum but mostly along the lines of European stories since her dolls are all only those types.

Lenka and Eric producers of the Ramanyana Puppet Show

 
However, making a puppet show for Ramayan was a special challange as she had to make special puppets of animal forms like monkey, deer and dragon as well 1 ten headed Ravana and Bows and Arrows. To help understand the story and characters of Ramayana, Lenka made multiple trips to my house to discuss the scenes and plan and stayed the entire day from 9am until past 11pm to pick up her stuff. It was a labour of love for both of us and Lenka charged only a token amount for providing her services.
I told her she had given so much to our community and this token of money was nothing to show the worth of the program but this show has given me confidence to take it to more children in future across Australia to promote Indian stories.

Children watching the Puppet Show

 
Mohan and Kavita both associated with Hindu scripture classes at Holsworthy Primary school with the help of Viji wrote the Ramayana story line suitable for a puppet show. All the background and other supporting paintings/drawings and props  (around 20) were sourced out to disabled people from Chennai, India.
 
On being given a go ahead by Hindu Council, Lenka and myself started doing the ground work and preparing the dolls and drawings. We had few sessions discussing the end-to-end process covering from the birth of Ram until his coronation and came out which scenes we will use puppets and which ones we will talk by showing the drawings so while narrating the story, the puppeteers have enough time to change the scene.
 
Following key scenes from Ramayana were played by the puppets showing the entire life of adult Rama.
  1. Breaking of bow and Ram/Sita and his brothers marriage
  2. Mantra poisoning the mid of kaikeyi and asking Rama t as o be sent to forest.
  3. Ram,Sita,Lakshmana leaving Ayodhya in chariot drawn by Sumantra.
  4.  Sita asking Rama to catch the deer and Rama going and shooting Maricha (deer)
  5. Sita asking Lakshmana to go and look for Ram
  6. Ravana coming and kidnapping Sita and flying in Pushpak viman.
  7. Jatayu trying to save by fighting with Ravana and falling down dead
  8. Ram and Lakshman meeting Jatayu and hearing the story.
  9. Ram,Lakshman meeting Hanuman
  10. Fight between Vali and Sugriva and Vali getting killed. (in this scene we gave a bow to boys in the audience and made them shoot vali)
  11. Hanuman flying over the ocean, encountering the dragon.
  12. Hanuman meeting Sita in Ashoka vanam.
  13. Hanuman flying back and narrating story to Rama.
  14. Rama and Ravana fight (even here boys were given bow to shoot Ravana and pretend they are Rama)
  15. Returning to Ayodhya and Rama’s coronation.
The other scenes from Rama’s birth were narrated to the audience, giving  sufficient time to change to the puppeteers to change the scenes.
 
We did one show at 3pm and then another one at 6pm. But it was such a roaring success that, literally we were dragged to do the third one around 7pm and even after that people came sitting and asking when is the next show. By 7.30 we had to close the shop.
 
Those who came really liked it and commented that they had not seen this before.

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Diwali celebrated in Parramatta

By : Surinder Jain. (Photographs by Vijay Maharaj and Dharmendra Modi)

Hindu Council of Australia celebrated its 20th Diwali at Parramatta Park on 3rd and 4th November 2018. Saturday the 3rd was marked by Sri Sitarama Kalyanam and Ram Lila while Sunday the 4th was Sri Sitarama Pattabhishekam, Ram Lila, Ravan Dehan and fire works.

Sri Sitarama being welcomed back on the temple stage

The event attended by about 30-40,000 people was inaugurated by Mayor of Parramatta Lord Andrew Wilson. Prime Minister of Commonwealth of Australia Scott Morrison, Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian and many Ministers, shadow Ministers and MPs from both sides of political spectrum were present.

The crowds have just started to arrive

The show like earlier years had rides for children, food from all corners of India, A large Rangoli, many businesses and sponsors. A recipe and cooking competition with vegetarian ingredients was held.

Culture from all parts of India was on display with dance and music performances.

The temple for Sri Sitarama Kalyanam and coronation was very popular with devotees who participated in rituals being conducted with Utsav Murtis by the priests who had come from Bhadrachalam, telangana, India.

Rama Pattabhishekam or Coronation of Lord Rama

One of the other popular draw cards was the sankeertan by Australian Society of Meditation and Yoga. The young western and non-Indian devotees  enchanted the crowds with their melodious voices and guitars, singing the praise of Lord Krishna and Rama.

Sanjeev Bhakri, Prakash Mehta and Scot Morrison

A Diwali Art exhibition with paintings by local artists was held showing Ram, Madhubani and other genre of paintings.

Bottom row : Bharathi R, family of Prime Minister. Upper row: Minister David Coleman, PM Scot Morrison, Julian Leeser MP, Renga Rajan Director, Prakash Mehta President

Children’s rides were very popular. The Prime Minister visiting with his wife and two young daughters visited the area. His children spend lot of time on the rides having a good time.

Ravan Effigy 2018

An 8 meter tall Ravan was erected. A Ram Lila was performed at the stage and Ram Laxman Sita procession moved to the Ravan effigy area. An arrow from Ram started the burning of Ravan and of the fireworks. Thousands of people enjoyed the fireworks. After the show was over and he event concluded, many visitors did not want to leave and are looking forward to next Diwali.

From Left to Right : Manju Nath HSS, Geoff Lee MP, Nihal Agar Director, Surinder Jain National Vice President, Ashwani Jain NSW Secretary, Sai Pravastu Director

 

More photos are available at

The Victory of Truth Over EvilFestival celebration full of live music, cultural performances, food, kids activities -…

Posted by Hindu Council Australia on Monday, 5 November 2018

 

 

 

 

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Sri Sitarama Kalyanam takes place in Sydney

Long awaited Sri Sitarama Kalyanam, i.e. celestial wedding of Lord Rama and Devi Sita was celebrated in Sydney today. The tradition of the marriage it is aid was established by Shiva Ji when he visited Bhadrachalam temple during his life which was spent defending Hindus from forced conversion.

Marriage Procession through the streets of Parramatta

About 200 devotees with utsav murtis of the lord from Bhadrachalam temple assembled in Parramatta Centenary square facing one of the oldest church in Parramatta. Before the procession was started, puja of the dieties and breaking of coconut ceremony were performed by Hindu Council of Australia President Mr Prakash mehta and then by Vice President  Surinder Jain.

Praying and breaking a coconut

A group of dancers dancing to the drum beats of Garjana group preceded the procession. Various Australian onlookers were amused and enthralled by the beat of the drums, by the dancers and by the procession of Lord rama and Devi Sita in their separate Palakis.

Shivgarjana Drums preceding the procession

The procession passed through the streets of Parramatta and reassembeled at the mouth of fresh water part of Parramatta (Param atma) River. In the heat of the day, devotees were undeterred by the long walk and many of them completed the three kilometer walk to Parramatta Park.

The procession at historic heritage building Town Hall

The procession entered Diwali celebrations area of the Parramatta Park and the marriage was performed on the main stage with all the rituals usually performed in Bhadrachalam. After the marriage devotees present their were blessed by the Lord. After the marriage ceremony was over, the dieties were lead in a procession to their stage for two days.

Lord Mayor of Parramatta and Councillor Sameer Pandey

Lord Mayor of Parramatta Andrew Wilson and Councillor Sameer Pandey came to the Lords temple to receive HIS blessings. Lord Mayor is his speech welcomed Sri Sitarama to Australia and congratulated the devotees on performing and taking part in the celstial Kalyanam. The Lord Mayor inaugurated Diwali festivities and declared the festival open.

Various cultural programs representing different states of India were performed on Diwali stage followed by Ram Leela.

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Kalyanam ceremonies being held in Sydney

By : Neelima Pravastu.

The Priests and Deities arrived on 26th October 2018 at night 9 PM from Bhadrachalam along with the celebrity Kuchipudi dancer Dr Padmaja Reddy and her group.

The Deities and priests were taken to host at Rohin Ji’s house on their first stay in Sydney.

Pre-wedding ceremonies started next day with making of Laddus for Prasadam and Husking the rice for Akshatas with over 65 volunteers. Ganesh and Sri Rama puja started the round of ceremonies.

Soft turmeric powder to mixed with the husked rice for akshatas at Ram Vel Ji’s house

The Deities are going to be taken in a procession from Parramatta Town hall to Parramatta park on 3rd November. The group tried and tested the Pallaki walk to check the distance, stops for the performances and the Grand entrance of the Deities.

Seva of over 60 women devotees, laid out on table

On 30th, the team met Parramatta Westfield at 7 pm and finished at 9:30 pm to explain the route options, entertainment and food options of the overseas guests and other details of the Kalyanam process and needed things.

 

Preparations for the main Puja

Following day, the team met again at Sushmita Ji’s house at 8 pm finished at 11 pm with Kalayanam team and Padmaja Ji to clarify doubts about the route and to plan the nitty gritty of the walk and the Kalyanam.

Walking the procession route as advanced planning

1st Pre-wedding ceremonies continued with Pounding Turmeric pods to get soft turmeric powder to mix with the husked rice for akshatas at Ram Vel Ji’s house. Around 50+ women, kids and men have participated in the ceremony.  Got the trays ready for the fruits, flowers and other things to offer the Deities. We made Kankanams (thread bracelet with Mango leave tied on it) to wear on Kalyanam and Coronation day to do Sankalpam by smearing the turmeric powder on it from earlier pounded turmeric. Had Mehndi ceremony along with it and delicious food for all the participants.

Vibrant devotees participating in Rituals

Received the show bags for the Kalayanam and Coronation. Showbag will contain Rama Koti book to write Sri Rama as many times as we can, Rama Mada a special coin with Sri Rama and Sita Devi printed on them and Akshatas sent by Bhadrachalam temple. Kalyanam and Coronation tickets will get a Silver coil with Sri Rama along with Sita Devi, Laxmana and Hanuman imprinted on them. Big sponsors will get a gold coin. Along with 4/6 entry tickets.

Publicizing the Kalyanam event in Sydney

Arranging garlands for Kalyanam and Coronation, starting for the Mandapam decorations on the stage, finalising the music for the cultural programs. Arranging necessary things for the walk including the Pallakis, Pallaki bearers, women to hold offer trays, bands, Kolatam performances. Walk teams, Receptions teams and logistics team are working round the clock to see that things go smoothly without much disruption.

Show bag for devotees participating in Seva

 

 

 

 

 

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Office goers crowd relishes Diwali in Sydney

By : Surinder Jain.

Hindu Council of Australia celebrated Diwali festival in Martin Place, the heart of Sydney today on 31st October 2018. Martin Place is a pedestrian mall in the central business district of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Office lunch time crowd

Martin Place has been described as the “civic heart” of Sydney. A water fountain is located on the east side of Pitt Street, near the Commonwealth Bank of Australia building. Behind this fountain is an amphitheatre, which features a stage where Diwali was celebrated.

Martin Place Diwali 2018, Crowd gathered to watch cultural performances

This part of Martin Place has been popular with office goers at lunch time and today was no different.  Hundreds of Australian in well dressed office suits thronged the area. Some came and sat down in the amphitheatre biting their lunch while others were just curious onlookers on their way to and back from take away lunch shops to their offices.

Watching Diwali and sinking in the atmosphere

A number of shops with goods ranging from Indian food to Indian handicrafts and various services like banking, real estate added to the charm of the show for onlookers. Diwali ArtSpace exhibition showing a small sample of two paintings was quite popular exposing many Australians to Hindu Art genre for the first time.

Indian Art work and handicrafts

The program consisted of various classical and bollywood dances by emerging and well known dancers in Sydney. The program was busy with people between 12 to 2pm.

 

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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.

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