Govardhana Puja is one of my favorite holidays especially here in Dallas. Every year my wife and I, with the help of the youth from ISKCON Dallas, have the opportunity of organizing and building of Govardhana Hill. A lot of preparation is put into creating this festival. We make a six foot replica of Govardhana Hill out of cake and because of this there is a need to make a mold of the hill so that the cake can be layered on top. Caitanya Candra Prabhu, a Prabhupada disciple who is well known for his kirtan abilities, helped me very much in this regards. He intelligently suggested a layered Styrofoam mold which would be cut, layered, glued, and carved into a hill. If a successful mold could be created, it would be used year after year. The mold that Caitanya Candra Prabhu built was 6ft long, 4ft wide, & 2ft high. The festivities started the day before at the Divali Mela at the Texas Stadium. Over 50,000 people attended this major event. The event started with our two star Bharatanatyam dancers, Shyamali & Surata Rangini Devi Dasis. Shyamali and Surata Rangini Devi Dasis: Shyamali and Surata Rangini Devi Dasis perform Bharatanatyam dances at the Texas Stadium for the 2007 DFW Divali Mela.
and dance some more
Then an excellent kirtan was performed by our very own Amala Kirtan Das, Kamal Das & youth crew.
Amal Kirtan & Kamal's Kirtan
The devotees had 3 booths at this event, 2 book booths and one prasadam (sacred food) booth. Thousand of fliers were passed out for our next day event, Govardhana Puja, by the devotees. Many of the young Indians who were attending the event were very happy to see the devotees because they were looking for the nearest ISKCON Temple.
The next day all devotees busily engaged in so many services to please the Lord. Radha Kunda (Caitanya Candra's daughter), Rupa, and Gopi Krishna all helped out with many other youth enthusiastically to recreate Govardhana Hill. Radha Kunda, Gopi, and Rupa
In fact Gopi Krishna bakes the majority of the hill in her own home, well over 25 cakes she made singlehandedly.
Radha Kunda applying frosting
Then enter the Gopis and Gopas which painstakingly were dressed and decorated over the pass 2 days by my wife Krishna Mangala and her friends. Bhaktine Angela, which you probably know from Connect, helped paint the gopi dots.
A total of 21 Vrindavan dolls eagerly awaited the arrival of their two most beloved Sri Sri Radha Giridhari (Krishna, the lifter of Govardhana Hill)
Sri Sri Radha Giridhari
Around this time many student, who scheduled ahead of time, started to enter the temple to observe the festival. That week many students called my office and asked, "Hi I am a student at SMU and I was wondering if it would be alright to come this Sunday and observe your worship, do you have any scheduled programs on that day." My enthusiastic reply was, "yes, on that day we will making a 6ft cake and be having a wonderful festival"SMU Students observe the Govardhana Festival
Many new people came as well who were not students and remarked that the festival had quite an impression on them, one in particular is Bhaktine Sara who came for the first time that day and offered to help with service. Bhaktine Sara engaged in serviceShe has become a very sincere student of Krishna Consciousness. She learned about the temple through a friend Bhaktine Angela who comes quite frequently with her father and and her son. Angela got attracted to come to the temple by the encouragement of Bhakta Mark our temple artist and tattooist via Myspace. She in turn encouraged Bhaktine Sara to come the temple via Myspace.
Everyone was simply elated by seeing the beauty of Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji.
Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji
After the first kirtan there was a dramatical performance by the Krishna Sunday School kids.
Sunday School drama
Hundreds of offering were then offered to the Lord with great love and devotion by all the community.
Angela's son along with all the devotees again went into a blissful kirtan. Adrian
and even the SMU students sang along with the Kirtan chanting the Maha Mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. SMU Students sing Hare Krishna
Both my wife and Bhaktine Angela enthusiastically danced taking in the beautiful darshan of Giri-Govardhana. Bhaktine Angela and my wife Krishna Mangala Devi Dasi
Krishna accompanied by Radha and surrounded by the loving residents of Vrindavan is splendidly decorated with jewel of Govardhana Hill deftly balancing on the tip of his lotus pinky finger of his left hand. Govardhana Hill
All, including the young Gopis, gazed at the beauty of the Lord,Young Gopis But the supreme most chaste one, Radha, blissfully gazed at the ground, shy that while Krishna was being looked at by all, Krishna could not stop gazing at the beautiful and all glorious Srimati Radharani.
Srimati RadharaniBecause Govardhana was being touched by the lotus finger of Krishna's hand all the Kunda's and Temples were unharmed by Indra's thunderbolts.
Mother Shakuntala makes silly pose with a new devotee Bhaktine Trish
Rupanuga Prabhu relishes the Kirtan
Hare Krishna, I hope you enjoyed your Govardhana Puja.
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
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Thu, 11/29/2007 - 14:05 — Megha
Thanks for posting.
Y'all had so many preparations for Govardhana :) Simply beautiful. Especially how Radharani gazes at Krishna!
Thu, 11/29/2007 - 02:07 — Bhakta Richie
I wish I was there.
I just came back to Mumbai i was in Puri for one week next week Giriraja Maharaja is coming to Vrindavan. I love the photos I know some of the SMU students i went to high school with them. It's good seeing they are taking pleasure associating with the lords devotees. There is no pictures of you dancing. Here in Chowpatti their is about 1o8 Nityanandaji's dancing enthusiastically for the pleasure of Sri Sri RadhaGopinath. I miss dancing with you in kirtan and hearing you talk to guests. All my love and appreciation to all the devotees Sri Sri RadhaKalachandji Dhama.
Thu, 11/29/2007 - 11:45 — NityānandaChandra
1o8 Nityanandaji's ha ha that was great, we all miss you as well. I just posted a video of you dancing in kirtan with HH Rtadvaja Swami. You have you classic ecstatic smile. Hare Krishna
Pray for all of us while you are in the Dhama, Haribol.
Your humble servant
Nityananda Chandra Das
Tue, 11/27/2007 - 15:04 — Krishna Mangala...
Thank you for making this blog. It made me experience Govardhana puja all over again.
GOVARDHANA PUJA KI JAYA!!!!!!!!
-Krishna Mangala Devi Dasi
Tue, 11/27/2007 - 14:51 — Karnamrita.das
Govardhana puja kijaya!!
Great newsy article and pics, Nitaiji!!! One of my favorite festivals as well. So many we have to share. Prabhupada said once at a Rathayatra that we have 2 festivals like this a month. So we have our service cut out for us!!
Your friend in Krishna,
Tue, 11/27/2007 - 12:31 — Bhaktin Apsara
Thank you for posting such an amazing article with the gorgeous photos! I was in complete bliss throughout the entire festival! I am so grateful for all the service and for bringing Bhaktin Sarah as well. I am so appreciative to Bhakta Mark for encouraging me to come to the temple and so grateful and happy to know you and Krishna Managala! Thank you!
Much Love and Respect,
Tue, 11/27/2007 - 12:46 — NityānandaChandra
Well we are all very very happy
to have you here. Your whole family is inspirational. Hare Krishna
Your humble servant
Nityananda Chandra Das
Tue, 11/27/2007 - 11:29 — Bhakta_Curt
I used to love this holiday
I used to love this holiday in Dallas. To this day, I describe it to those unfamiliar with the festival as "Hare Krishna Halloween... me make a mountain of candy, worship it as God and eat it. " From the pictures, it appears that the "youth" of Dallas aren't so young anymore, except Rupanuga and Amala Kirtan Prabhus. They just don't age! The miracle of loving wives and excellent prasadam! Sri-Sri Radha-Kalachandji ki jaya!
Tue, 11/27/2007 - 12:40 — NityānandaChandra
Loved your comment.
Wed, 11/28/2007 - 14:13 — Radhikesh
Very nice description and superb photos brings the festival come to life for us. Thanks so much for posting this.