Thousands flock to Hindu festival near Radlett

MORE than 55,000 pilgrims and guests flocked to a huge festival at the Hare Krishna temple near Radlett earlier this month.

The kitchens at Bhaktivedanta Manor worked 24 hours a day to prepare free vegetarian meals for everyone who came to the Janmashtami festival which took place earlier this month.

Hundreds of children dressed like Lord Krishna with their faces painted blue, peacock feathers in their hair and carrying flutes.

One of the festival highlights included a flowered walkway through the spiritual gardens and woodland with a spectacular display depicting the life and pastimes of Krishna.

The chief guest was the Countess of Verulam, Dione Grimston, and other visitors included inter-faith representatives, locals, business and community leaders, mayors and MPs.

The festival is managed and run by volunteers from the community, the eldest being 96 and the youngest being 16, who gather every evening after work for a month prior to the event and put in countless hours of hard work for the occasion.

Festival coordinator Ajay Kumar said: “It is an ancient tradition to serve food to all who come to Bhaktivedanta Manor. We are sure that the efforts of 1,500 volunteers over many months made everyone’s visit memorable.”

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Cllr Linda Silver, Mayor of Hertsmere, said: “‘I was honoured to be a guest at the Krishna Temple on Janmashtami and the afternoon was memorable. It was wonderful to experience the warmth and hospitality that was present wherever we walked and to encounter so many families with children of all ages.”