Over the Bank holiday weekend Saturday 28th through to Monday 30th August Bhaktivedanta Manor will be holding its annual Janmashtami festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna.
The Temple management has been working closely with local Health Authorities and Hertsmere Council to deliver a safe event, given that Coronavirus cases are not going down.
The festival will be ticketed and designed to spread the number of visitors evenly throughout the three days to prevent overcrowding on-site and to keep its social distancing measures in place. There will be no more than about 4500 attendees on-site at any one time. It is expected that around 35,000 in total will be visiting over the entire three days.
Many other measures have been put in place to safeguard the volunteers and pilgrims such as temperature checks, hand-cleansing stations, and the wearing of masks.
All the hundreds of volunteers have been trained and will be LFT tested in time for the event.
As a result of these measures, festival features will be scaled-down compared to pre-pandemic levels. But the main priority of the management is to guarantee attendees of all ages are completely safe.
Traffic management will be placed to avoid congestion and it is hoped that the staggered and even less overall numbers of visitors throughout the three days will help to reduce any issues.
The Temple President Vishaka Dasi said:
“It is so wonderful that so many people will be able to experience the atmosphere and spiritual upliftment of visiting Bhaktivedanta Manor. I want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who have made the festival possible by their dedication and service."
Ambika 21 years of age from Brent, who is a volunteer in the car parking team said that she “…has not been able to serve at the Temple for over a year and now it is so exciting that I can spend time with my friends to volunteer to make this festival safe and successful”.
Lilaben Patel from Harrow, 83 years of age, chops vegetables in one of the Manor’s three kitchens. She volunteers in readiness to prepare thousands of plates of free vegetarian food which will be given to all the guests over the three days.
20 tonnes of vegetables and potatoes will be used during the festival with volunteers manning the stoves around the clock.
After only a brief pause at the beginning of the first UK lock-down in March last year, Bhaktivedanta Manor has been able to remain open for private prayer. That was possible due to its ongoing stringent social distancing rules in place. That has provided much-needed spiritual relief for many thousands of people.
Meanwhile, devotees of Bhaktivedanta Manor have been offering pastoral care and other types of help for its huge congregation, and especially those in the vulnerable category.
Links to Bhaktivedana Manor’s Social Media platforms:
Youtube LiveStream: https://www.youtube.com/user/ManorRecordings