The worldwide activities of the International Society for Krishna consciousness (ISKCON)
An estimated half a million people attended the three-day celebration of Janmastami (Lord Krsna's appearance anniversary) at Hare Krishna Land, Juhu (Mumbai), last August. Prominent entertainers performing for Lord Krsna's pleasure included Jagjit Singh, Hema Malini, Anup Jalota, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Shiv Kumar Sharma.
Congregation members prepared and distributed 16,000 kg (17.6 tons) of Krsna-prasadam during the festival.
An ISKCON temple is under construction in Gadeigiri, Orissa, the birthplace of His Holiness Gour Govinda Swami, an ISKCON leader and spiritual master who departed this world in 1996. The temple is scheduled to open early this year.
Mayor Marc Morial attended the Janmastami celebration at the New Orleans temple. After respectfully viewing the Deities, the mayor gave a short address, expressing appreciation for the spiritual atmosphere of the temple and encouraging the devotees to continue their good work in the city.
Devotees held a Rathayatra ("Festival of the Chariots") in Seattle, Washington, last September.
Deities of Radha-Krsna were installed in the Phoenix, Arizona, Hare Krsna temple last August during a three-day festival.
The University Museum at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, presented a show of artwork last summer titled "Retrospective: 10 Years," featuring the art of Loetitia S. Lilot, also known as Saradiya Dasi, an early disciple of Srila Prabhupada's. Running for six weeks, the 43-piece exhibit included portraits, Krsna's pastimes, statements on animal rights, and other subjects. Saradiya's paintings have appeared in Back to Godhead and publications of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
More than a hundred people have taken part in ISKCON Houston's adult education program since its inception in September 1997. The school offers several courses leading to the Bhakti Sastri Certificate and has programs for children as part of the temple's Sunday School curriculum.
Guest speakers at the annual convention of the Religious Newswriters Association included ISKCON's Bhakti Tirtha Swami. The association was formed in 1949 to advance the professional standards of religious reporting in the secular press. It is primarily composed of religion editors for the major print and broadcast media in America. The 1998 convention was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in September.
In August, Bhakti Tirtha Swami was a guest speaker at the annual conference of the National Medical Association, held in New Orleans.
ISKCON Vancouver held its twenty-fourth annual Rathayatra last August. About ten thousand people took part.
An ISKCON temple recently opened in Cork, Ireland. The temple is five minutes from the center of Cork, population 150,000.
ISKCON's float won first prize last September in the Stanmore Parade (North London) with a beautiful swan float bearing the Deities of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundara (Caitanya and Nityananda), pulled by the oxen Jai and Burfi. The swan was equipped with moving wings.
Devotees at New Varshan Farm held their first fire sacrifice in their nearly completed temple on Radhasthami, the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, last August. The two-story octagonal temple sits on the highest point on the ninety-acre farm, overlooking an estuary of Waitemata Harbor.
Padayatra England found a warm welcome at the Hertsfordshire summer carnival, winning a prize for their oxen-drawn float. It was the Hertsfordshire Council that had tried to close the Bhaktivedanta Manor, located near the upscale village. After years of appeals, ISKCON won the right to continue holding festivals at Bhaktivedanta Manor.
Sixty devotees took part last July in a ten-day Padayatra ("walking festival") from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.