Bhaktivedanta Manor’s spectacular Janmashtami festival attracts over 70,000 pilgrims to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna on earth 5000 years ago. The festival demonstrates the spiritual variety of India’s ancient Vedic culture in all its glory.
On arrival, visitors walk through the newly completed ‘New Gokul’ complex, Europe’s largest cow protection project, as they make their way to the colourful festival site. At the site, the main marquee stages cultural dances and musical extravaganzas. Over 50,000 pilgrims also eagerly queue in anticipation to greet Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda, the temple Deities, in the Manor’s exquisitely decorated shrine. Even the queue itself is a spiritual experience, as it makes its way along a flowered walk-way around the Manor’s lake, with pilgrims admiring the illuminated displays of Krishna’s pastimes.
Throughout the day, kitchen staff is working solidly, preparing no less than 50,000 plates of prasadam (sacred vegetarian food) that is distributed freely to all pilgrims. A dedicated children’s area features a mini ‘main marquee’ where children perform carefully prepared shows and dances. An array of stalls and exhibits display spiritual art and literature, while there are also themed marquees providing lifestyle tips, such as a cruelty-free diet and a reduced environmental footprint.