Organised under the leadership of Dr Anand Kulkarni and Dr Nalini Kulkarni, the event was split in two parts: the day started with the soulful ‘Sampoorna Bhagavad Gita Parayana’ (recitation of the Bhagavad Gita), followed by an engaging quiz on the same, while the latter half focused on ‘Durga Namaskara Pooje and Ranga Pooje’ followed by a cultural event wherein various artists were seen showcasing their art.
Held at the Jain Community Centre in Manchester, the uniquely traditional event drew a crowd of nearly 300 people. As well as making many devotees feel connected to their cultural roots, the South Indian style puja, which beautifully incorporated customs and traditions from Udupi in Karnataka, southern India, was a new experience for many diaspora members who were unfamiliar with South Indian customs.
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The several cultural performances after the puja provided a stage for diaspora artists of all ages – many of them children and young adults – to showcase their talent to an enthusiastic audience. Ranging from classical singing to various forms of classical dances, these performances brought renewed energy to the attendees.
Acharya Raveendra Ganesh Bhat – who conducted the puja – also spoke on the importance of the puja, allowing the younger diaspora members to understand the religious and cultural significance of the Durga puja.
For many who attended, the most cherished experience of the ‘Durga Namaskara Pooje’ event was the Maha Prasad (meal offering) - a freshly cooked sattvic (a type of food believed to be pure and balanced) meal served on fresh banana leaves. The traditional Udupi style meal consisted of a wide range of mains and sides, including multiple sweet and savoury items.
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The VKV prides itself in conducting such events in an authentic and spiritual manner through various cities across the UK – namely, Leeds, Manchester, Portsmouth and London. Associated with the Puttige Matha in Udupi, the VKV hopes to spread good values and promote spiritual growth and peace with such events and other similar initiatives.
*Info: Venkata Krishna Vrundavan