Around 30,000 people attended the festival. The queue extended from the temple hall and over on to the main road. There was intermittent drizzling but no rain, still the devotees were patiently waiting in queue for their turn to take darsan of their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Damodar and Sri Sri Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Maayi.
Hare Krsna !
The festival started on Saturday 20th of August with the normal morning temple program followed by Bhajans by devotees. In the evening Vaishnava Kirtan by a renowned artist was followed by a Krishna Leela ballet presented by children which was very much appreciated by the guests and devotees alike.
On the next day Sunday, 21st August we had the regular morning prog and from 10am till noon we had a special Gopal Sahasranama Dirghayu Homam performed by our pujaris, many of the grahasta families participated in the Homa. All along kirtan was going on unabated. Simultaneously Gopuja was being conducted at goshalla by the New Cow Donors.
In the evening at 4 pm the programs started with “Utlotsav” or breaking of the butter pot. This event attracted lot of crowds, who were eager to watch the competitors. Many small children, teenagers and adults participated in their respective categories. It was a very lively event.
This was followed by the children’s competitions, conducted in the events like Devotional fancy dress, Solo dance, Group dance Drama etc…. the crowds completely filled up the massive tent put up in the huge open space, and many were seen standing behind the filled up chairs and enjoying the show. Being a Sunday we had a huge crowd.
On the Monday, 22nd August, Janmastami day we had the regular morning temple program, with special Darsan Arathi. Devotees were so happy to see their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Damodar, Sri Sri Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra Maayi attired in a wonderfully designed outfit. The flower decorations and the specially erected cutouts around the parikrama path added to the splendor.
Devotees were pouring in from early morning with their offerings of fruits and flowers to their Lordships. Continous Harinam was going on the whole day extending till midnight. Evening programs included prize distribution by Muncipal Commissioner of Visakhapatnam SRI RAMA ANJENEYULU GARU for the various competitions conducted on the occassion of Janmastami like drawing, painting, essay writing, and also for the competitions that were conducted yesterday. Many schools participated in all of the events and it was a real thrill to see the prize winners.
After the prize distribution, a special Hari katha in Telugu on “Sri Rukmini kalyanam” by a renowned lady artist From TTD was presented. Mataji’s performance was so nice, everyone were up and dancing in the end, when she ended with the melodious Mahamantra kirtan.
District Collector of Visakhapatnam Sri Lav Agarwal offered flowers and special lamp Puja to the Lordships and finally Kalasha Abhishekam of the Utsava vigrahas started at 11pm and ended with a midnight arathi which included offering of a 108 wick lamp. Roaring kirtan was going on which had everyone in the temple hall dancing in ecstasy. After the midnight arathi, Ekadasi prasadam was served to devotees and grain prasadam was served to visiting guests.
On Tuesday, 23rd August Srila Prabhupad’s appearance day was celebrated in a befitting way. After the morning temple program, and the darsan arathi, there was a short Hari katha presentation in Bengali by Iskcon Mayapur devotees. Then offerings and glorifications of Srila Prabhupada started, after some time the huge temple hall was fully packed up with devotees eagerly drinking the nectar of Prabhupada katha. At 1pm Abhishekam of Srila Prabhupad’s deity was started accompanied by ecstatic kirtan. Deputy Inspector General of Police Smt. Sowmya Mishra offered pushpanjali to Srila Prabhupada, this was followed by sumptuous lunch prasadam.
In the evening unprecedented crowds were seen in the temple, it became really tough on the part of the volunteer devotees to cater to them as everyone was stretched to the limit during these 4 days physically.
The gift shop was fully packed up with eager devotees from morning till midnight, eager to buy devotional paraphernalia on all the days. Various stalls like the Life membership stalls, Go-Products stall, the offerings seva stall put up for the festival saw eager crowds throughout the evening on all the 4 days.
Even the Gosala had visitors contiously streaming in and appreciating the ambience of the neatly maintained Gosala and the healthy cows. Children were seen squeaking with pleasure while caressing the calfs and while feeding the cows.
Free prasadam was served on all the days to devotees who had come all the way from the hustle and bustle of the city to our Hare Krsna land, in Sagar Nagar, Visakhapatnam, which is a sea facing, calm and picturesque place on the outskirts of the city.
All the guests were applied with Tilak on the forehead, and guided by volunteers towards the altar. Around 30,000 people attended the festival. The queue extended from the temple hall and over on to the main road. There was intermittent drizzling but no rain, still the devotees were patiently waiting in queue for their turn to take darsan of their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Damodar and Sri Sri Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra Maayi.
All the major newspapers and TV channels covered the 4 days festival extensively about the wonderful celebrations on the occasion of the Lord’s appearance. It was a chance for us to serve thousands of people by way of exposing them to the world of Krsna Consciousness… everyone went home in Bliss.
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aspiring to serve,
Sankirtan Ananda Gaura Das