The Malibu Temple here was bustling with close to 1000 people June 3 to witness the celestial marriage between Lord Sri Venkateswara (or Lord Srinivasa) with Goddess Padmavati.
Recreating the marriage portrayal witnessed by millions each year in Tirupathi, India, the “Marriage of Srinivasa,” or “Srinivasa Kalyanam,” was celebrated with great devotion and fanfare.
The ritual ceremony, the latest in a series of holy marriage reenactments conducted by visiting priests at Hindu temples across the United States, included the use of deities and portable statues brought in from Tirupathi.
Jointly organizing the event was the Hindu Temple Society of Southern California and Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam.
Festivities commenced at 6 a.m. with the Suprapadam, or the waking up of the lord. Once awakened, the priests cover the deities with garlands and chant God’s name until the actual holy marriage, which took place after 10:30 a.m. and continued for more than two hours.
Adding to the grandness of the event was the inclusion of elephants during the lead up to the marriage reenactment.
Following the holy marriage was a cultural program which included both Indian classical dance and Indian classical music performances, and another puja.
Hailed by organizers as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the Srinivasa Kalyanam signifies the promise of Lord Srinivasa (who is also the same as Lords Krishna, Rama and Vishnu) to marry Padmavati (an image of Sita) in Kali Yuga, which, according to scriptures, is the final of four stages in the world’s evolution.
Dilip Kondiparti of TTD came from San Jose, Calif., to make the Srinivasa Kalyanam a reality at the Malibu Temple here. He told India-West that since so few people are able to witness the actual holy marriage reenactment in Tirupathi, TTD brings the celestial event to the millions of followers around the world.
According to Kondiparti, while millions of followers and worships trek to Tirupathi on a pilgrimage to witness the holy marriage, only 600 or so people are actually allowed to see the reenacted ceremony.
“Usually only 600 people can attend the Kalyanam (in Tirupathi). So that’s why TTD is doing a reach-out program to the entire world, to show the Srinivasa Kalyanam. This is God’s wedding,” Kondiparti said. “The whole ritual is witnessed. It is a large wedding that is witnessed by several people across the world.”
The Malibu Temple was one of the final destinations of the TTD’s presentation of the Srinivasa Kalyanam reenactment in the United States, which began April 30 in Sacramento, Calif., and traveled to temples in Oregon, Minnesota and North Carolina, among others, before arriving in Calabasas.
“We coordinated with local temples so that kids and the next generation get the spiritual experience and religious experience of this significant event,” Kondiparti said.
The stage used for the holy marriage at the Malibu Temple was specially crafted in Hyderabad and weighed one-and-a-half tons. Six priests traveled from Tirupathi to take part in the holy event, which Kondiparti said is quite unusual.
“It’s the belief of the Hindu culture that the priest should not travel across the sea, especially Brahmin. But they made an exception because this is the propagation of religion and spirituality across the globe,” he told India-West. “This is a reach-out program from Tirupathi. The Tirupathi priests dared to go out of the country and across the seven seas.”