The Diwali Mela 2023, held at the Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, on November 4, was a grand success! The public started entering the stadium grounds before the start time and a huge crowd stayed until midnight. This was One Combined Event of the Year for the Greater DFW Community, where many local Hindu organizations connected and collaborated with the organizers. The grand success of the mega-event can be attributed to collaborative community partners and the very highly inspired team of organizers (i.e., Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas in Allen and DFW-ICS).
The Diwali Mela events and activities were spread out in three locations. The center stage of the circular stadium presented the live Ram Leela, the Bollywood concert, the Victory Parade, Ravan Dahan, and the fireworks. The indoor stadium hall hosted scores of vendor booths and a stage for performances by local professional dance schools.
The very popular food booths and all the other stalls were located outdoors, as well as the center stage that featured performances by local amateur artists who showcased their talent in singing, music, and dance.
The two big attractions across the board were the beautiful jhankis set up by the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen). The first smaller one of Lord Sita-Ram was outdoors by the booths, and the bigger one of Shree Radha-Krishna was indoors at the entrance of the main stadium. Both jhankis were beautifully decorated, exuding divinity. The Temple priests performed their evening poojas and offered prasad to those who came for darshan.
The program Emcee welcomed everyone including the Sponsors and Community Partners. The Inaugural Ceremony started with the lighting of the lamp by Shree Swami Mukundananda and Mr. Satish Gupta as well as representatives of the Radha Krishna Temple and DFW-ICS.
The amazing Ram Leela performance connected the audience with their spiritual heritage. Lots of people in the audience cheered and appreciated that the cast members constituted all sectors of the DFW community which represented many regional and service organizations that came together to perform this leela.
Immediately after Ram Leela, several cast members posed to take pictures with Shree Swami Mukundananda and Mr. Satish Gupta!
The cast of Ram Leela and others participated in the Victory Parade which celebrated the return of Lord Ram after 14 years in exile. The Victory Parade also had participants from the different Associations that represented the states of India.
The characters who played Shree Ram, Lakshman ji, and Sita ji sat on the Pushpak Viman chariot. When the chariot came directly in front of Ravan, Shree Ram shot an arrow, and thus began Ravan Dahan!
People were thrilled when the laser show kicked off simultaneously with a short fireworks session while the recording of Swamiji’s beautiful naam-sankirtan “Shree Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram” played in the background. Then the Victory Parade ended.
The Emcee invited Shreya Bhat from the Radha Krishna Temple to the stage. After thanking all the participants, she introduced Shree Swami Mukundananda, the Founder of JKYog and the Radha Krishna Temple, to the stage to deliver His message. The audience gave a standing ovation to Swamiji as he walked up to the stage.
Swamiji delivered a very special and very highly inspirational message that focused on the significance of Diwali. He talked about how Diwali came to be celebrated and by lighting the diyas, we invite God into our hearts. Reciting the beautiful shloka, “Asato Ma...,” Swamiji stated the importance of beseeching God to lead us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality, and how we souls need to bring the light of God to pull us out of darkness. His message touched the hearts of thousands of people. He thanked all the community partners for their contributions.
Following Swamiji’s Keynote Address, Shreya Bhat welcomed the Bollywood Celebrities and the show started.
Bollywood Music Director Harry Anand started by giving a very touching tribute to Swamiji as his Guru and supporter during his personal life tragedy. Then he introduced each singer starting with Jyotica Tangri. She profusely thanked Swamiji and started her rendition of popular songs. In one particular Punjabi number, she asked the audience to dance with her and the crowd loved it!
After her performance, Harry Anand introduced Amit Mishra. He too involved the audience by dancing up to where guests were seated. Then he invited Harry Anand and Swamiji on the stage as he sang “Aisi Shyam teri…” which he had sung for JKYog Music and directed by Harry Anand.
Then came Yasin Nizar. He started with a devotional song in honor of JKYog and Swamiji. He sang the classical song Shankara much to people’s delight. He too invited the public to sing along with him. Then he sang songs in a mix of different languages including the very popular Naattu-Koothu, for which the audience was waiting with anticipation!
At the end of the Bollywood concert, Swamiji honored each singer with a trophy.
The end of the center stage program was marked by the most mind-blowing and jazzy fireworks and laser show with live Bollywood singers and the public dancing to the tunes of Bollywood music. It was a feast for the eyes and the senses that left everyone in awe.
In the outdoor stadium ground was another hall that showcased the most amazing performances of classical dances from different regions of India. These were presented by professional dance schools from the DFW metroplex.
The same indoor hall also featured wonderful vendor booths that showcased Indian couture, fancy jewelry, beautiful arts and crafts, and so many other things. All these experiences made visitors very happy that they came.
The outdoor stage that featured local artists was also filled with fun. People, especially the youngsters, danced to the beat of dhols, live singing, music and much more! All the participants were filled with enthusiasm and high spirits, which raised the spirits of the audience too!
People feasted on delicious cuisines and chatpata snacks. The food booths were constantly busy until the end of the program. It was only after midnight that the food vendors started to wrap up.
There were some vendor booths outdoors too. They were a mix of different products and services.
Another very successful activity area was the special games and activities for kids featuring the bounce house, fun rides, face painting, and a huge variety of games. The kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly! Even the adults enjoyed watching the kids delight in simple things in life.
Overall, this was a very successful event and appreciated by the DFW community members who attended the grand Diwali Mela 2023!
We invite you to share your comments and experiences below! Tell us what you loved the most and also what you would like to see next year.