New York: Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple, situated on Robinson Street in the Flushing section of New York, has taken out a Palki Yatra (palanquin procession) in the neighborhood on July 3, drawing a huge response from across the city and its suburbs.
The procession was the culmination of a weeklong series of programs held on the occasion of Guru Poornima. That day, traditionally celebrated to honor gurus —especially the spiritual ones — and the temple was packed to its capacity. As the following day happened to be a national holiday, the temple celebrations went on late into the night.
Earlier in the week, Havans, Kalashaaraadhana, Dwara puja, Baba charitra paaraayana, Veda paaraayana, Vishnu sahasranaama and Satyanarayana puja were held among others.
During the full week — beginning July 2, one lakh (100,000) vibhuti archanas were performed by 11 devotees, who took the formal deeksha (pledge), which ended on July 7.
The final day (July 7) began with shanti havan, and ashtottara kalashaabhisheka was held later. Sai naam jap, bhajans and the regular aarti formed part of the day's programs.
The highlight of that day's and the entire week's programs was undoubtedly the palki seva (palanquin procession). Earlier in the day, the palanquin was decorated and the utsava vigraha of Saibaba was placed in it with all veneration.
After a three-time pradakshina of the palanquin around the Baba idol, the carriers took it out. Sainaam rant the air as the palanquin was slowly moving along the streets. Some devotees danced, others distributed various materials and a few carrying the palanquin by turns. But everybody sang “Om Sai Sri Sai Jaya Jaya Sai” as the palanquin wound its way through the streets and returned to the temple.