Chakra Announcements

ISKCON Festival Draws Thousands

by Shyamsundar Priya das

Posted December 11, 2007

The three-day program ISKCON-utsava, held recently in Visakhapatnam, India, began on a grand note. There was Gita chanting, exuberant Hare Krishna kirtan, dance, bhajans and beautiful Kuchipudi- style Krishna- and Rama-Lila ballets.

The site was tastefully decorated with over 100 stalls. Noted singers from all over Andhra Pradesh rendered devotional Krishna bhajans of the Vaishnava poet Anamacharya, and the whole area echoed with Hare Krishna kirtan as thousands of participants chanted loudly.

Tourism minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy and commercial taxes minister Konathala Rama Krishna -- as well as seven MLAs from Visakhapatnam district and the district Congress Party head -- participated in Homa and the inauguration of the festival. Responding to the request of ISKCON Visakhapatnam, the tourism minister promised that more land will be alloted to ISKCON in the future.

On the last day of the festival some members of the local congregation took initiation. HH Jayapataka Maharaj led Hare Krishna kirtan for over 10,000 people, and members of the local youth congregation danced with enthusiasm in front of the stage. There were two huge, colourful balloons in the appearance of Lord Ganesha moving around and entertaining everyone. There were also food stalls and kiosks displaying various commercial products, plus games and merry- go-rounds for children.

A number of ISKCON stalls displayed Srila Prabhupad's books and devotee paraphernalia. Other booths promoted life membership, ISKCON Food for Life, Go-seva and Mandir-nirman-seva. A booth offered spiritual answers to questions, while inside one hall there was a continuous ISKCON multimedia presentation.

There was continuous mass Prasadam distribution, and newspapers and TV channels gave wide coverage. It seems the people of Visakhapatnam have a liking for this kind of festival. It was heartening to see such a huge crowd in our ISKCON festival. Thanks to the arrangements of the traffic police, the parking for the event extended over 2 kilometres from the festival site.