ISKCON Laguna Beach celebrated its annual regional Maha Gaura Purnima Festival on Saturday, March 13th 2010. Although the festival is always large, bringing devotees from Los Angeles and San Diego together with the local Orange County crowd, this year's was the biggest ever, with nearly six hundred people filling the temple hall, patio and backyard of the small center.
As has been the tradition, the Laguna Beach temple was decorated with fruits and flowers. But this year, they took it too a delightful extreme. It is said that Krishna prefers the offerings of fresh, fragrant flowers to gold and so special flowers were flown in from Hawaii to decorate the temple hall and the altar. Complementing them were papayas, pineapples, bananas, tangerines, grapefruits, avocados and coconuts. These fruits were so attractive that some attendees started to eat them while the festival was going on
Three senior sannyasis were present: Giriraj Swami, Jayapataka Swami and Indradyumna Swami, who makes it a point to attend this festival every year. Indradyumna Swami explained the importance of sharing Krishna Consciousness, quoting from Chaitanya Caritamrita, Srila Prabhupada's life and also from his own travels around the world.
The discourse was followed by a short play by the ISKCON Laguna Beach Sunday School children, who enacted the pastime of the deliverance of Jagai and Madhai. It was directed by the husband wife team Poonam and Guru, both of whom were raised in the Hare Krishna movement.
"The drama brought tears to the eyes of many devotees," noted Nivedan Tiwari, an active member of the temple.
The play was followed by the largest street chanting party the city of Laguna Beach has ever seen. The devotees carried deities of Gaura Nitai on a palanquin and proceeded along the beach boardwalk. Deepak Chandani flew down from San Jose to assist with book distribution efforts, led by local devotee Sakhya Prem.
Devotees then enjoyed a huge feast prepared by Laguna husband-wife team Rameshwar and Savita from Mauritius, with assistance from cooks from Los Angeles and San Diego.