Thousands attend Hindu festival near Radlett: With Gallery

OVER 60,000 pilgrims and guests flocked to the Hare Krishna temple near Radlett at the weekend to enjoy one of the world’s largest Hindu festivals outside of India.

1,500 volunteers were on hand at Bhaktivedanta Manor on Sunday and Monday as the well-organised Janmashtami festival marked the birth of Krishna.

The colourful festival included a flowered walkway through the spiritual gardens and woodland and hundreds of children who had dressed like Lord Krishna, painting their faces blue and wearing peacock feathers in their hair.

Free vegetarian food was also handed out to visitors on the day.

The two days also celebrated the launch of the Ahimsa Dairy Foundation, which sells milk from cows that won’t be slaughtered when their milking days are over but retired instead.

The not-for-profit company has just begun distributing slaughter-free organic milk in the area.

Those entering the huge festival site passed through the new farming complex which is recognised as a blue-print for compassionate and sustainable farming. It is something that those behind the initiative hope will change the way people think about how their food is produced.

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The President of Bhaktivedanta Manor, Srutidharma Das, said: “The Janmashtami festival is a festival of peace in what are troubled times. Ahimsa is a very important belief in Hinduism and the cow symbolises peace and prosperity in society.

“When the relationship between humans and cattle is correct everything in the world is in harmony.”