2nd National Ayyappa Convention

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Continuing with last year's grand success of the National Ayyappa Convention this year's convention program was conducted successfully on Sunday 22nd December from 3pm to 9pm at the Auditorium of Vaishnav Temple of New York, New Hyde Park.

Dr. Dasan Potti, Board of Trustees at Ayyappa Seva Sangham, New York 2nd National Ayyappa ConventionSee more photo of Lighting the Lamp

The event started at 3pm with Mr. Vishwanathan Rajagopalan, the Master of Ceremony for the evening describing the program highlights. He then welcomed Mr. Gopinatha Kurup for starting the program.

Mr. Gopinatha Kurup started the program by giving a welcome speech & invocation of Lord Ganesha through a mantra. He then gave a brief introduction of the Chief Guest for the evening Dr. Dasan Potti before inviting Dr. Potti to the stage for his speech.

In his speech Dr. Potti emphasized the importance of devotion and the need of an Ayyappa temple in New York for fulfilling the long cherished desire of Ayyappa devotees. He stressed how with each passing year since the inception of the Sangham, the trustees and all involved devotees have been waiting impatiently for the dream to materialize and it's just a matter of time before the dream comes true for all. He concluded his speech asking the devotees to continue with the same endeavor for the continued success of the Sangham and the temple.

Mr. Saji Karunakaran gave an introductory speech for the evening's session introducing all the members of the Sangham and their continued untiring efforts towards the building of temple.

Mr. Kunnappalil Rajagopal in his address described the background of Ayyappa Seva Sangham since its inception highlighting the progress made by the Sangham so far and the next steps towards achieving the reality.

The gathering observed a minute of silent prayer to pay homage to the departed souls - Balan Nair (One of the founding Trustees of Ayyappa Seva Sangham who left us on December 12, 2013 at Ottappalam, Kerala) and also the last link of the Travancore dynasty HH Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma.

Mr. Ashok Kesavan described the setup of the Ayyappa website, information maintained therein for the benefit of all devotees and using the online tools for donations, Website advertisments and other purposes.

The cultural event began with two dance performances by the disciples of Mrs. Chandrika Kurup of Nupoora Arts. (See photos)

The disciples of Mrs. Sumathy Haran then came on stage and sung few devotional compositions of Lord Ayyappa. (See photos)

It was followed by a beautiful dance by the disciples of Mrs. Savithri Ramanand from Mukthambar Fine Arts and another dance performance by Sadhanalaya Dance School (disciples of Guru Sadhanaji) on behalf of New York Tamil Sangam.

The highlight of the evening was the Bhajans rendered by Swaminatha Baghavathar of New Jersey Namasankeerthana Samajam. The bhajans were sung with such fervor, it left everyone in the audience spellbound and mesmerized.

Finally we had the pleasure of listening to Rahul Narayan, who sang Ayyappa songs and also concluded the function with the rendition of Harivarasanam.

Felicitations with a 'Ponnadai' was conferred upon Sri. Dasan Potti - who conducted the very first pooja at the now Flushing Hindu Temple, Ram Potti, Unni Krishnan Nair, Guruswami Premanand Nair, Jayaprakash Nair, Swaminatha Bagavathar, Rahul Narayanan.

The enchanting Ayyappa Temple on the stage was created by Sudhakaran Pillai one of the devotees of Ayyappa and a well wisher of Ayyappa Seva Sangham.

Souvenir for the function was released by Mr. Ram Potti. The first copy was received by his uncle Dasan Potti and then distributed to all the attendees.

The raffle draw was conducted by Kunnappalil Rajagopal & Raju Nanoo and picked by the child Veda Sabari announcing the lucky winners. The winners were 1st Prize – ticket # 160, 2nd Prize - ticket # 048, 3rd Prize - ticket # 151. Dasan Potti distributed the prize to the winners. 1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes were sponsored by the benevolent contribution of Rajesh of Raj Auto, an anonymous donor, Mr. Murali Nair respectively.

Mr. Balakrishnan Nair, Board of Trustee, gave the Vote of Thanks. He offered Ayyappa Seva Sangham's heartfelt thanks to: Dasan Potti (Chief Guest), Ram Potti, Noopura Arts Smt. Chandrika Kurup & Ms. Lakshmi Kurup, Tamil Sangham, Kannada Koota, Telugu Assocoition, Nair Benevolent Association, MAHIMA, SNA, Vaishnava Temple authorities for providing us the hall, the sound system, audio, video technicians, sponsors, advertisers, contributors of articles and poems and all the well wishers.

Food prasadam was served for all devotees, sponsored by House of Dosas, Hicksville, NY.

The function ended on a bigger and grander scale than last year's and it was heartening to see more people coming together to participate in a common goal of building the Ayyappa temple. And we hope to conduct similar conventions every year as we continue to expand.