on Aug. 30, 2008
A traditional dance troup performed on the main festival stage.
The Janmashtami festival at Bhaktivednata Manor, UK, was expecting 65,000 over two days but it is estimated that 50,000 attended the first day in a record breaking attendance, which is becoming to be one of the most unique spiritual festivals in Britiain. At one point 14,000 cars were parked by 200 volunteers in 78 acres of land.
The theme of the festival was food for the body and spirit. There were demonstrations and tasting tents for different cuisines celebrating vegetarianism and environmentalism. From organic to vegan, from 'happy cow milk' to self-sufficiency, the festival will appealed to the whole family. "Reducing the consumption of meat is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint," explained Temple spokesman Sita Rama Das, "A 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the vehicles in the world combined".
Dilip Patel the Festival Coordiniator said "the festival is so successful because of the devotion and dedication of the volunteers and meticulous planning which starts the next day after last year's festival."
"The kitchens worked 24 hours to cope with the 50,000 plates of free vegetarian food which was distributed throughout two days," said Lalita Saki Devi Dasi, who was in charge of the kitchens which had 400 volunteers preparing and serving prashad.
"Its was one of the best Janmashtami festivals ever" said Radha Mohan das, "The atmosphere was electric. It was a great pleasure to be part of this massive and joyous event."
The highlight was the flowered walk-way though the forest and lake. It lit up at night and depicted the stories of Lord Krishna. "The design and construction was planned so that visitors can feel and be close to nature and be spiritually uplifted," said Ajay Kumar, the concept originator of the project.
Highlights on the main festival stage included a drama by the Bhaktivedanta Players about the life of Srila Prabhupada, and Jayadev prabhu singing with the Hertfordshire Comm.unity Choir to launch his new album "From Here to Eternity".