I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
A Free Fun Family Day With Something For Everyone
Hare Krishna people are known for many things – their delicious vegetarian food, beautiful rural ashrams and colourful street chanting – Kirtan Yoga – to name just a few. Originating in India around five thousand years ago, Gaudiya Vaisnavism, as the Hare Krishna path is known in the ancient Sanskrit language, was brought to the West in 1965 by an Indian holy man, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and over the ensuing decades has contributed greatly to the current worldwide interest in practices such as yoga and meditation. Here in Australia one of the most beautiful Krishna ashrams would have to be New Govardhana, an idyllic eco village situated in the foothills below Mount Warning, approximately ten kilometres from Murwillumbah in New South Wales. Celebrating the Swami's inauguration of ISKCON International Society of Krishna Consciousness) in 1966, on Sunday July 10th New Govardhana will be hosting a fabulous open day with an awesome jam-packed program of fun things to see and do from the morning until evening. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.
Taking place at 10.30am, the first event on the festival program is a spectacular traditional parade called Ratha Yatra. This event originates in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, in the ancient city of Puri, where for thousands of years three massive rathas (carts) have transported beautifully decorated deities from the temple to another nearby holy place. On New Govardhana, the parade will begin on the road close to the farm's entrance and will progress for approximately a kilometre up to the exquisitely hilltop temple, where most of the action will take place. There will be lots of vibrant singing and dancing accompanying the parade, so if you love Kirtan Yoga you definitely won't want to miss this part of the festival. With so much colour and action, photographers will also be kept busy with many unique and colourful photo opportunities.
After the parade there will be a fabulous two-hour stage presentation, celebrating Srila Prabhupada's arrival in America fifty years ago. This will include a dynamic multi-media presentation, as well as cultural performances such as bhajans (spiritual music), dramas and traditional dance performances. Other attractions include a pop-up market full of lots of yummy vegetarian food, clothing, gifts, crafts and loads of other cool stuff, as well as special children's activities such as a jumpy castle, face painting and fun crafts. There will also be a small calf-petting zone set up somewhere in the grounds. Cows are sacred in the traditional Vedic culture of India, so if you and your children love animals this could be a rare opportunity to get up close and personal to these gentle creatures.
Image courtesy of the Krishna Farm website
Apart from the planned festival activities, guests are very welcome to visit the beautiful temple room, explore the gardens or wander back down the hill to check out Krishna Village, a yoga and eco community that's situated close to the farm's entrance, or just take a wander down to the river.
Finally, at 3.00pm a delicious vegetarian feast will be served up, which you can enjoy al fresco, surrounded by some of the most spectacular countryside in New South Wales. Although most of the program will be over by the time the feast is served, if you love the devotional chanting, bhajans will continue in the temple until around 9.00pm.
In a nutshell, if you're looking for a truly unique family event this weekend, look no further than the Hare Krishnas Celebrate 50 Years open day, which will take place on Sunday, July 10th. Beginning at 10.00am and continuing until well into the evening, there will be so much to see and do for the entire family. New Govardhana farm is situated at 525 Tyalgum Road in Eungella. To find out more, take a look at their website.
I can remember decades ago working in the city in Melbourne and seeing hare krisnas in the street, usually playing music. It has been a long time since I saw them but it's nice to know they have prevailed.