Last weekend saw a record number of visitors to England's Bhaktivedanta Manor during Janmastami. With over 70,000 people attending over the two day celebration, "It is as if Krishna had wanted everyone to come and celebrate his appearance" said Ajay Kumar, one of the organisers of the festival.
All of the guests passed through the new Goshall built at a cost of 2.4 million pounds. Sita Rama Dasa said, "This year we are asking people to think about how their food is produced. Millions of cows are killed after an average of 300 days milking on a commercial farm. Our 'happy cows' go on giving milk for seven or eight years. This is because we have such a high level of care for our cows." The tradition of worshipping Krishna is synonymous with protecting cows. We hope that this will be a blue print for all farms said Shyamasundar Dasa the farm manager.
The organizers claim that the preparations over many months and the commitment and devotion of 1200 volunteers has made the festival successful.
"During the summer holidays I’ve been coming to the temple to help and had a really fun time. This year I particularly enjoyed the Motown Krishna which was performed in the main tent," said Naina Kumar from Barnet, aged 16.
The event received much media coverage. As well as extensive coverage in the local, London and Asian press, the public across Britain learned about Lord Krishna's grand birthday celebrations on ITN News, Radio 4, and The Guardian and Metro newspapers.
Many dignitaries attended the festival including MPs, Mayors, interfaith representatives and business leaders.
"Bhaktivedanta Manor is now a major centre for education and worship," said Clare Ward, MP for Watford. "Congratulations for the hard work, perseverance and dedication displayed at this festival which attracts people from across the country. The qualities exhibited are the same qualities that enabled the Manor to remain open during a difficult period. This festival keeps on getting bigger and better!"
Photos of the event can be viewed here.