Bollywood actress Mahima Chaudhary and the Deputy Comptroller of Nassau County, Dilip Chauhan attended the fourth annual Janmashtami celebrations at Radha Govind Dham New York on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Volunteers were there since morning setting up a stage and stalls outside the temple with an ornate Radha Krishna murthi, for the religious block party in the evening that brought 6,000 devotees to the temple.
The program started off with a variety of Indian dishes for dinner “prasad” followed by cultural events starting the chanting of devotional kirtans by devotees.
Swami Nikhilanand Ji, a sanyasi preacher with Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, shared the significance of Lord Krishna’s descension and the festival of Janmashtami with the audience and also led a brief kirtan chanting session after which kids performed their semi classical dance routines.
Chaudhary and Chauhan also judged a Radha Krishna dress up contest for kids up to the age of 8.
Chaudhary was thrilled to see all the kids in their beautiful attires and also told the audience that she felt inspired to see the Indian community gather together to celebrate Janmasthami at such a large scale in New York.
The festival also featured a “handi-phod,” which represents Shri Krishna’s pastime of stealing butter by breaking earthpots from the houses of his village folk, and ended with a dandiya raas.
While these events were going on outside, inside Swami ji and devotees were chanting away kirtans while Shri Krishna’s murthi was being bathed by serval people.
Towards the end of the night, there was a “jhanki” planned which showed Shri Krishna’s father Vasudev ji carrying little Krishna, symbolizing the time baby Krishna was being carried to Gokul from Mathura, right after his birth.
The night ended with the cutting of a birthday cake for Shri Krishna a special aarti was conducted at midnight.