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Sree Krishna Janmastami - Bhaktivedanta Manor

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by Carolyn Hopping (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
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A Little Slice of Spiritual India in London
Of all of the beautiful festivals celebrated by Hindu people worldwide, one of the sweetest and most colourful would have to be Janmastami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna. While in India millions go on pilgrimage to the holy town of Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, elsewhere, throughout the world, temples and ashrams stage opulent festivals celebrating the special event. Janmastami is a joyful occasion, and this jubilance is reflected in the traditional kirtan (devotional singing), special lectures, children's activities and cultural presentations. Many devotees of Krishna choose to fast the entire day, but for casual guests and well-wishers, delicious vegetarian meals are also available.

Shi Sri Radha Gokulananda
Shi Sri Radha Gokulananda


Although Janmastami is celebrated at several temples and cultural centres throughout London, the largest celebration by far is held at Bhaktivedanta Manor, just outside the city in Watford. The headquarters of the Hare Krishna movement in the UK and one of the largest and most well-established Hindu temples in the country, the festival is celebrated with unparalleled opulence and devotion, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Beautiful Bhaktivedanta Manor
Beautiful Bhaktivedanta Manor


This year, the Janmastami festival at Bhaktivedanta Manor will be celebrated over two days, Saturday August 16th and Sunday August 17th. While the focus of most committed devotees will naturally be the beautiful deities of Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda in the temple room and the various events that will be held there, there will also be plenty to entertain casual guests and those who are simply curious.

Image courtesy of the Shree Krishna Janmastami website
Image courtesy of the Shree Krishna Janmastami website


The gardens of Bhaktivedanta Manor are absolutely exquisite and several lovely walks can be made around the grounds, including the Bhagavad-gita walk, a meditative stroll around the scenic lake and the Woodland Walk. Since cow protection is a very important part of Hindu tradition, one of the most popular places to visit at the Manor is the gosalla, a barn that shelters them, as well as the nearby dairy. Guests are always welcome and children will especially love the opportunity to get close to these large but gentle creatures. There's also a little gift shop where you can purchase trinkets and souvenirs of your visit.



If you're visiting Bhaktivedanta Manor with energetic young children there's also a wonderful adventure playground in the gardens, with plenty of seating so you can relax while they run around. Nearby, there's a bakery and a variety of other food stalls where delicious vegetarian snacks can be purchased, if you're not fasting.

Image courtesy of the Shree Krishna Janmastami website
Image courtesy of the Shree Krishna Janmastami website


Also for the children, Krishna-land is a special area so that little ones can imbibe the magic of this traditional festival through child-friendly performances, face-painting, treasure hunts, craft activities and puppet shows. For the extra-active there's also a bouncy castle and even the chance to try a kids' yoga class.

Image courtesy of the Shree Krishna Janmastami website
Image courtesy of the Shree Krishna Janmastami website


Casual guests might also be interested in paying a visit to the main festival tent where a great range of cultural presentations are held. In addition to beautiful devotional music, there are also traditional Indian musical recitations and performances in various styles of Indian dance such as Bharat Natyam, Kathak and Rasa-lila Thillian.

Inside the temple room, the mood is more serious and meditative with classes from the ancient spiritual texts of India, kirtan and bhajans (devotional singing) and of course, darshan of the beautiful deities of Krishna.

In a nutshell, the Janmastami celebrations at Bhaktivedanta Manor are certain to be a vibrant and festive event, and whether you're from London's Hindu community, are a devotee of Krishna, a spiritual eclectic or simply want to check out something a little bit different, you're certain to find the welcome to be warm at this beautiful traditional festival. Therefore be sure to mark it into your events calendar. To find out more, including contact details and information about how to get there, take a look at the Bhaktivedanta Manor and the Shree Krishna Janmastami websites.
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Why? This beautiful traditional festival is truly magical, and welcomes all.
When: Saturday August 16 and Sunday August 17 - 2014
Where: Bhaktivedanta Manor, Dharam Marg, Hilfield Lane, Aldenham, Hertfordshire, WD25 8EZ, United Kingdom
Cost: Free
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