SRI RAM Mahotsav celebrations at Lake Town, Pune

  • Lake Town Society Pune celebrated Pran Prathishta of Sri Ram Mandir Ayodhya in a very unique and traditional way involving all age-groups, youth and seniors alike.

January 22 was a day of historical significance to Indians since it was the day when the consecration (Pran Pratishta) of the Sri Ram Temple in Ayodhya was planned. Our ancestors had struggled for more than 500 years to restore the temple at the site of Shree Ram’s birth in Ayodhya. Over centuries, many generations sacrificed all they had to restore the glory and the respect of Sanatana Dharma since this particular temple carried a special significance not only for Indics but for the Indian Civilization. 


Our residential complex by the name of Lake Town in Bibwewadi area of Pune had always been actively celebrating our culture and festivals all year round. Hence, for this date, the society’s cultural committee sat down to plan something special. After a lot of brainstorming it was decided that we would have a two-day celebration. Since our residential complex is fairly large with 34 apartment buildings, we wanted to make this a public event with the wholehearted participation of all members of the society.


We named this event – Shree Ram Mahotsav since we wanted this event to be a celebration of Shree Ram’s life and values. As part of the celebrations we had planned a prabhat feri (morning procession of Shree Ram, Seeta Mata, Laxmanji and Hanumanji on a chariot), Shree Ram havan with 51 couples participating in the havan, Ram Leela performances by the kids, Shree Ram bhajan recitation, Sundar kand recitation, Mahaprasad and Deep Mahotsav across the two days of 21st and 22nd January 2024.

Morning procession

This pic shall give a sense of the event. 

Since our goal was to make this a public event, we invited donations from society members without taking in funds from commercial and social organizations. Our members responded whole heartedly by making donations and we collected targeted funds. We also asked for volunteers from each of the buildings and again there was an overwhelming response to the call for support. We had appealed to all our members to decorate their building’s entrance lobby in order to welcome the chariot carrying Shree Ram, Seeta Mata, Laxmanji and Hanumanji. 


Once again, our members surprised us with their creativity in decorating their respective building lobbies and entrances. Men, ladies, children and the elderly came together as one extended family to decorate their buildings.

It was as if Diwali had come early this year with the flower, light and rangoli decorations at each building’s entrance. Balconies hoisted the saffron flag and the society in general had a touch of saffron wherever one looked.

All the planning was in place by Saturday evening (20th Jan) and it was all about execution for 21st and 22nd January, 2024.


We barely slept on the night of 20th and 21st January, partly due to excitement and partly due to the nervousness of the grand plans we had made for both the days. After all, planning such a two-day function at short notice for a society of 34 buildings and close to five thousand residents was a challenge for those involved.


Anyways, Sunday, 21st of January dawned upon us and the first event was the grand procession of Prabhu Ram, Seeta Mata, Laxmanji and Hanumanji.  The celebrations kicked off at 7 AM on Sunday, 22nd of January 2024 from the Lake Town main gate as a grand chariot hosting Shree Ram, Seeta Mata, Laxmanji and Hanumanji (represented by four kids from our society) were welcomed by a huge crowd of Lake Towners which included members on Royal Enfields, superbikes and 4x4 vehicles.

Welcome of grand procession on Royal Enfield.

We had expected a few hundred people to turn up that morning but the members from our society surprised us away with literally thousands of members taking part in this procession. The English language does not have adequate words to describe the emotions of the people during this procession.


Everyone was smiling, dancing, chanting “Jai Sri Ram” and the kind of warmth we saw could only be related to attending a function of a family member. Shree Ram reminded all of us that we are all part of one big family at Lake Town. I hope the pictures will give you an idea of the energy that morning. 

Welcoming the procession. 

Welcoming the procession.

We saw the elderly in our society have tears of joy as they witnessed the chariot roll past their building and it was almost as if Sri Ram and family had paid them a personal visit.


The grand morning procession went around each of the 34 buildings in Lake Town and was welcomed by a shower of petals by all Lake Towners.

Sri Ram Havan

After the conclusion of the prabhat feri (morning procession), 51 couples from the society participated in a navkundatmak havan (hom of 9 havans) dedicated to Prabhu Shree Ram. Gore Guruji and his team or priests took the 51 couples through an elaborate set of rituals, prayers and offerings across the nine havan kunds set up for this purpose. By the end of the rituals, all the couples experienced a tremendous sense of satisfaction, created a sense of positive belief for themselves and also for the entire society. The havan ceremony got over by 3 pm. We had a short break of two hours before the proceedings for the second half of the day kicked off at 5 p.m.

This pic showcases the mood at the Shri Ram Mahotsav celebrations.

At 5 pm, well known devotional singer Shweta Didi and resident of our society, kicked off the bhajan sandhya program dedicated to the life and values of prabhu Shree Ram.

Shweta Didi performing. 

Shweta Didi had the audience enthralled with her rendition of Sundar Kand, Hanuman Chalisa and bhajans dedicated to the Ramayana and Prabhu Shree Ram. The audience members were also given small booklets of these bhajans so they could join Shweta Didi in chorus. Shweta Didi’s energy was something else. She sang, without a break, for approximately two hours and hardly anyone  switched off for that entire time. 

With Kalash in hand. 

Around 7 pm Shweta Didi completed her program and the audience waited in anticipation for the choti Ram Leela performed by Lake Town kids.


Kids from our society did an amazing job in enacting different scenes from the Ramayana like the interaction between Sita Mata and Ravan at Ashok Vatika and the last duel between Ravan and Prabhu Shree Ram which resulted in the defeat of Ravan. The entire audience was mesmerised by the series of songs and acts performed by Lake Town kids, for well over 12 minutes at one fluent go.

Our daughter as Sita. 

Post this choti Ram Leela performance, we had Shree Ram and Shree Ganapati Aarti conducted by the senior citizens of our society.


Around 7.30 pm i.e. post the aarti, Maha-prasad was announced and members queued up to savor the mahaprasad cooked by a team of hard-working cooks. The mahaprasad consisted of puri, rice, potato subzi, sheera and dal. Female volunteers from the society took up the task of serving the food to the fellow members and male volunteers took it upon themselves to bring the food from the kitchen to the serving counters.


Huge crowds were seen at this Mahaprasad ceremony. We wondered if the quality and the quantity of the mahaprasad would stand the test of the huge crowds. After some initial moments of chaos, the mahaprasad service settled into an organized affair. We had originally aimed for about 1200-1400 members to partake in the mahaprasad but by the end of the mahaprasad, around 2200 members, their families and friends had enjoyed the mahaprasad. The best part was that everyone had a word of praise for the quality of the food and members had second and third servings of the mahaprasad.


I think that evening we had Prabhu Ram’s blessings. Hence, we could deliver on the quality as a well as quantity of the mahaprasad.


The second day of the Ram Mahotsav celebrations kicked off at 5.00 pm on 22nd of January 2024. Senior citizens from our society hosted a two-hour bhajan program. During these two hours, bhajans dedicated to Prabhu Sri Ram, Hanumanji were presented and there was a rendition of chapters from the Ramyana.


After this bhajan program, two groups of kids from our society presented dance performances based on the theme of Ramayana and Prabhu Sri Ram. Kids in both the groups had practiced well for this day and innovative use of props was on display.


Lake Towners enjoyed both these dance performances, and everyone appreciated the efforts of the kids.


After the dance performances, senior citizens from our society conducted Ganapati and Ram Aarti and prasad was distributed to everyone present on the occasion. After the aarti ceremony, members brought their oil lamps (as communicated to them earlier) near the Ganapati temple to take part in the Deepotsav program planned for the entire society. It was a beautiful sight to witness men, women and children from our society dressed in traditional finery, light lamps together as one large extended family at Lake Town.

Our ladies group. It is their support which made the Mahotsav possible.  

Post this, a grand fireworks show was on display. The fantastic fireworks were enjoyed by all the members, and it brought to a close the fantastic “Shree Ram Mahotsav” program. Everyone involved in the organization of this grand event experienced a sense of pride at the success of the program and we knew Shree Ram’s blessings were with us all through the two days of the program. 


It will be very difficult to beat this experience unless of course we get a chance to celebrate the restoration of temples at Kashi and Mathura during our lifetimes. Now that will be something!

Jai Shri Ram!


To see Video of celebrations:

1. Part 1 (1 hour) Detailed video on the prabhat feri (morning procession) carried out in Lake Town on the occasion of Ayodhya Ram Mandir pranpratishta. The children dressed as Shree Ram, Laxmanji and Seeta mata (my daughter saanvi) got great love and respect from all Lake Towners and it was a Diwali early in the year going by the celebrations at this event. Also watch Shree Ram Yagya performed at nine havan kund with the participation of 52 couples from our society.

2. Part 2


Also read

1. Experience of Pran Pratishtha at Ayodhya on Jan 22, 2024

2. Rama in Tamil Nadu

3. Marathas and Ayodhya

4. Why making Ram Mandir is important for Asia

5. Architecture of Ram Mandir

6. What is Pran Pratistha

7. On Chanting the Name of SRI RAM

8. What is the deeper meaning behind the names of Sri Ram and his brothers

9. Adhyatma Ramayan marries Bhakti with Advaita Vedanta

10. Many versions of the Ramayana

11. A sacred journey to meet Pandit Ramashraya Tripathi Ji, a present-day disciple in the lineage of Goswami Tulsi Das

12. Pran Pratistha celebrations in USA


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