Weekend Houston ~ Annakut at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston

Being closer to God has several privileges and advantages. We live at about ten minute driving distance from Swami Narayan Mandir – Houston. The temple is one of the great structures in the USA. The structure and sculpture bring the divinity and belongingness with God. The temple is also one of the deciding factors for us while buying our new home last year. During our parents’ six-month stay here, we visited the temple every Sunday to attend the evening arathi.

It is never a better time to visit the temple than during the celebrations of Deepavali and Annakut. This is the time when bhakthi and bhukthi come together and reach to its best during the year. Families celebrate one of the most sacred and important festivals, Deepavali. Traditionally this time of the year also coincides with the completion of the harvest. As an offering of gratitude to God for his bountiful blessings, the new harvest is first used to cook exquisite foods for the Bhagavan.

In BAPS Swaminarayan Mandirs ‘Annakut‘, literally a mountain of food is offered to God on this day. A vast array of vegetarian foods is traditionally arranged in tiers or steps, in front of the Bhagavan. The sweets are placed nearest to the Bhagavan. As the tiers descend, other foods such as fruits, grains, dals, vegetables, and various fried savory foods are arranged. A mound of cooked rice, symbolic of Mt. Govardhan, is placed in the center.

In all Swaminarayan mandirs, sadhus and devotees then sing ‘Thaal’ – kirtans composed by the poet paramhansas of Shri Swaminarayan. These kirtans list and glorify the food items in an aesthetic, rhyming and pleasant manner, praying to the Bhagavan to accept them.

Annakut arrangement starts early in the morning until 11AM. From 11 to 1 PM, melodious Thaal kirthan singing, followed by a grand arati goes on. Bhagavan and Annakut darshan are open till evening. Around 4 PM, the now sanctified Annakut prasad – sweets, fruits and nuts are distributed to the visitors and devotees, followed again by evening arati.

We went and had Annakut darshan for the first time today at Swami Narayan Mandir. It was really an impressive, pleasing display of food art. A dedicated devotee or food connoisseur for a feast, we can’t help but praise “Jai Swami Narayan Bhagavan” for blessing us with such wide variety of fetching food. I recommend Annakut darshan ~ A celebration of food.

Swami Narayan Bhagavan ki Jai.

Deepavali Celebrations at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston
Deepavali Celebrations at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston

Annakut Neivedyam at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston
Annakut Neivedyam at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Houston

Swami Narayan Mandir website: BAPS, Houston
Photos 2 & 3, and Annakut description: courtesy of BAPS, Houston

20 Comments

  • By Supriya H, October 18, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

    Beautiful pics and description, Indira! Thanks for sharing!
    Happy Diwali!
    Supriya

  • By mamata, October 18, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

    Indira,
    Thank you so much for posting these pictures, infact you have given a chance for all of us the darshan of Shri Swaminarayan. Since I stay in dallas I would definelty plan to visit this mandir.
    We were so worried of your sudden absence without your posts there was some emptiness in my days. Thanks for coming back. Take care…….

  • By Ashley, October 19, 2009 @ 8:12 am

    Indira, I have longed to see another post and was thrilled this morning to see these glorious pictures. I hope all is well with you. Happy Diwali!

  • By mona, October 19, 2009 @ 8:43 am

    Dear Indira,

    Always visit your website and it pleases me very much today to have the Annakoot darshan.
    People have spoken about it and this is the first time I have sesn it.
    Thanks, Mona

  • By Padmaja, October 19, 2009 @ 10:41 am

    Happy Deepawali Indira! Glad that you are back. We also visited our local Swaminarayan mandir for Annakut darshan yesterday. It was awesome!

  • By sri, October 19, 2009 @ 10:58 am

    indira, we have swaminarayan mandir here. but missed going for annakut yesterday. diwali is also celebrated as new years day by the gujratis.

  • By Cilantro, October 19, 2009 @ 11:10 am

    Great pictures Indira, Great darshan thru your pics.
    Living close to the temple does has an advantage. We are yet to see a big temple like this one in Seattle.

  • By Satya, October 19, 2009 @ 11:34 am

    Hello Indira Gaaru,

    Thanks for such a beautiful pictures.Even there is one Swamynaryan Temple in our place,but i don’t know till now as i am new to this place.After reading your post explored about temple as well.

  • By Anupama Krishnamurthy, October 19, 2009 @ 12:10 pm

    Dear Indira,
    Sal Mubarak! I went to Annakut in Milpitas, Ccalifornia yesterday. It was something! My good camera gave away after just 1 picture so the rest were taken with cell phone. Oh well.

    Anupama

  • By kumudha, October 19, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful picture of the temple.

    Love to visit your blog for splendid food pictures and delicius recipes!

  • By vani, October 19, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

    very nice beautiful pictures and thanks for sharing with us and pls post a recepi for us all here soon. take care and hope all is well with you.

  • By Srikanth, October 19, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

    Darn! I missed it yesterday then!

  • By Indira, October 19, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

    Happy Deepavali, dear friends. Hope you had a wonderful festival weekend filled with lots of good food and fun.

    Cilantro: Happy Deepavali!
    But Seattle has Kailash: The Mt.Rainier. Like a beautiful temple, it inspires devotion. Crazy but I had often thought of taking a coconut and some agarabatti to Mt.Rainier and doing a puja there when I lived in Seattle. :) If only Mt Rainier is in Bharath, there would be a grand ancient temple hidden somewhere in the sikharam.

    Anupama: Happy Deepavali and Sal Mubarak!
    So glad to read that you have a Annakut darshan tradition with friends. Great post at your website.

  • By rashmi, October 20, 2009 @ 12:08 am

    thank u so much for sharing such a nice picture…

  • By Ami, October 20, 2009 @ 1:09 am

    hi Indira,

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful picture. We visited Swami Narayana temple when we visited Houston in May,2009.

    It is really beautiful and peaceful place and the next part is the Bhojanalaya. I never has such tasty food till date in US anywhere.

    Also, the snacks and sweet section is also good.Lots of varieties and it is fresh.

    A must visit place along with Meenakshi temple in Houston.

  • By rekha, October 20, 2009 @ 10:12 am

    Very beautiful pic.s thank you so much for sharing. wish you a very happy Deepavali Indira

  • By Banu H, October 20, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

    Beautiful Pictures. Thanks for Sharing it with us.

  • By Raghu, October 22, 2009 @ 9:52 am

    Indira garu
    We (me n my wife) are and have been big fans of your website. We just moved to Houston and with this post I see that you are from here as well. What a pleasant surprise! We were there for the Diwali function as well. Except for the long bus wait I think it was a great experience. Well looking forward to bumping into you somewhere :) Keep up your great work and adios for now.

  • By Kalyani, October 25, 2009 @ 4:53 am

    Wow beautiful pictures indira !!!!

  • By Lakshmi, September 24, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

    Hi Indira,

    Just got a chance to browse through your website, great work with loads of Patience I must say! I stay about the same 8 minute drive from swaminarayan temple but never got a chance to go to annakut, have to go next time. BTW I share similar interests with you in terms of gardening and cooking. So send me a mail on my gmail, we can be in touch!

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

WordPress Themes