Connecticut Hindu Temple Celebrates Holiday Season with Unique Festival

December 15, 2001

Source: The Hartford Courant

On December 15, 2001, The Hartford Courant featured an article on Kalpavriksha, "a holiday created by Hindu parents who wanted an event focused on Indian heritage and Hindu faith for their children to enjoy during the season... 'You've got Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and you have Kalpavriksha now. The kids get to celebrate and be a part of the fun,' says Reddy Ganta, a member of the Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society in Middletown... The society sponsored its first Kalpavriksha celebration more than a decade ago... Recently, more than 200 children and adults [attended]... Kalpavriksha, which means 'magic wish tree'... [and] is part of a story in the Vedas, [the] sacred texts of Hinduism." The tree is represented by an "evergreen decorated with lights [that] looks just like a Christmas tree... [with] ornaments shaped like an elephant, a cow, the sun and dolls in bright costumes -- elements of Hindu mythology... The annual Kalpavriksha festival and its focus on the children has helped to unify the diverse Indian community over years, says Mohan Kasaraneni, a member of the temple... Harish Krishnarad, a Cheshire resident who came to this country as student more than 20 years ago... [said] that many foreign students stayed to work at school during the holidays. 'But now the kids are not going to be left out. They are part of something bigger. ... That's the American way, we want to be sure our kids have everything we missed out on, the best of both worlds.'"