By Vrajendranandan Das
ISKCON Vishakhapatnam had organized a 3 day (30th April, 1st and 2nd May) festival called the ‘ISKCON Ustav’ Grand Pandal festival to commemorate the 500th Sannyas Anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at its picturesque campus with hills on one side and the Bay Of Bengal on the other.
ISKCON Vishakhapatnam had organized a 3 day (30th April, 1st and 2nd May) festival called the ‘ISKCON Ustav’ Grand Pandal festival to commemorate the
500th Sannyas Anniversary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at its picturesque campus with hills on one side and the Bay Of Bengal on the other.
Every day the Utsav began at 4:00 pm with Homam, Gita Chanting, and Harinam Sankirtan which went on simultaneously throughout the program in the temple room. On the Stage the program started with Krishna Bhajans by renowned devotional singers like Balakrishna Prasad, Parupalli brothers and Jaygayathri sisters. Spectacular dramas on Krishna Lila, Chaitanya Lila, and Ram Lila were enacted by Sainath Kala Samithi. Every day in the evening H. G Samba Das (Temple President) delivered lectures benefiting the public in the pandal. 25 ft high Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s cut out were displayed on the main gate and also on the Panadal stage. Chaitanya mahaprabhu’s Lila book was distributed in Telugu free. The Huge Pandal was looking so stunning with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s different quotes with photos displayed on either side. A colourful 12 ft balloon welcoming people to ISKCON Utsav was displayed. Children had a good time with Inflatable Ganesh moving around and entertaining them, also there was merry go round, speeding cars, giant wheels etc
This was a great preaching tool, and more than 15,000 people attended the festival every day and each one of them received a ‘Dona’ Prasadam. It also helped in making the local citizens aware of the activities carried out by ISKCON. The area was setup as a carnival, nearly 100 booths bazaar was set up displaying various spiritual related items, such as Srila Prabhupada’s book, paraphernalia, Goshalla. Anadanam, Life membership stalls ,free Homeo medicine stall,(consultation and medicine were given free) Spiritual Q & A stall, also power point presentation was simultaneously going on by ISKCON Vizag Youth Forum etc.
Honourable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, K. Rosaiah, visited the temple on May 3rd at 7 pm. First, he proceeded to the temple hall; he put a garland to Srila Prabhupad and then had a darshan of the Lordships. There he performed a short puja to Sri Sri Radha Damodar and Sri Sri Jaganath Baladeva and Subhadra.
After the darshan, the CM inaugurated the newly built Mechanized Kitchen. This kitchen has a capacity of cooking prasadam for 25,000 people within 4 hours. Currently, ISKCON Vishakhapatnam is feeding 3000 children daily. From there the CM went on to inaugurate the Ashram Building.
After the inauguration, the Chief Minister accompanied by his entourage went on to the stage. First H. G. Samba Prabhu gave a welcoming speech. Then the CM spoke on the wonderful activities being done by ISKCON around the world and the simple lifestyle of the devotees. He also launched the magazine of ISKCON Vizag, titled “The Voice of Krishna”. He promised to allocate extra 2 acres of land to the temple.
Also accompanying the CM were: Sri Kanna Lakshmi Narayana (AP, Minister for Major Industries) Sri P. Bala Raju (AP, Tribal Welfare Minister) Sri Botsa Satyanarayan (AP, Panchayatraj minister)
Along with many MLA’s, MLC’s and localc government officers.
All of them were gifted with a Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Picture of Lord Krishna and other souvenirs.
The festival was very well covered by the print (along with photographs) and electronic media.
Link to the Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.com/118048521807589208737/ISKCONUtsav#