Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple

Toronto's Hare Krishna Centre (ISKCON Toronto), has always been the hub of a rich, vibrant and enthusiastic community. Whether it be grand festivals, programs at local universities and yoga studios, philosophical discussions, cooking sessions, or singing and dancing on the streets, there are events taking place for everyone's interest.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh, What a Way to Launch a Countdown!

12:40:00 AM By Kevala-Bhakti Dasa (Keshav) , , , , , , , 4 comments

When we think of the word "launch", perhaps the image of a space shuttle rumbling its way through the atmosphere as it carves a path to the stars comes to mind.  Necks crane upwards to watch rockets burst towards the heavens and all that is left is a trail of smoke cast across the sky.

While Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple has no intention of entering space exploration (though, the kirtans that bellow from within our walls could certainly send any heart to another world), there was a special kind of "launch" at the temple on Sunday, April 26th, 2009!  The official Festival of India (Ratha-Yatra) Launch Day was celebrated on a breezy spring evening and, yes, there was even our own version of a trail of smoke!

Kicking off with the annual Ratha-Yatra Launch Day Havan (fire sacrifice) before the scheduled Sunday Feast, special mantras were recited and auspiciousness was invoked to seek blessings from Lord Krishna for our annual Festival of India.  As the havan winded down, billows of ghee-scented smoke filled the air as the doors of the altar opened for the 6:00pm arati.

Alas, this was no normal Sunday program!  Toronto's Hare Krishna Temple was honoured to have, as a special guest, HG Bada Hari das, a world-renowned kirtaneer!  A packed temple room attentively listened to Bada Hari das as he painted a touching picture of the early beginnings of Ratha-Yatra in the West.

After the class, the Festival of India Organizing Committee took centre stage and presented the plans for this year's festival as an offering to Sri Sri Radha Ksira-Chora Gopinatha, Srila Prabhupada and the assembled devotees.  Touching on various items like the planned pre-festival party at Yonge-Dundas Square, Yoga Meltdown, a new hospitality initiative and much more, the presentation set the stage for what will surely be an exciting countdown to Ratha-Yatra on July 18-19, 2009!

And then the rockets really took off!  HG Bada Hari das eased into position behind his harmonium and led what can only be described as an electrically-explosive 8:00pm arati!!!  Walls, floors and hearts thumped with glee as a rip-roaring kirtan filled the air and devotees danced like there was no tomorrow!  The kirtan spilled well into the night and a roar of appreciation came from the assembled devotees each time there was a pause in the chanting!  The evening ended with a vegetarian feast for all and smiles were abound as hearts and tummies were left oh-so-satisfied.

We've all done it before.  At some point in time, whether in childhood or as adults, we've done the whole, "5... 4... 3... 2... 1... blast off" routine.  At Toronto's Hare Krishna temple on Sunday night, the countdown began to Toronto's biggest Hare Krishna party, the annual Festival of India!  And while the end of the countdown will certainly be a "big bang", devotees proved on Sunday night that even the beginning of a countdown can be... a blast!

For more information about Toronto's Festival of India, visit

View Festival Picture Gallery Below:


Anonymous said...

the "" link isn't working for me.

Anonymous said...

never mind it's working now

Anonymous said...

It was a very special program,all devotess gathered and danced in ecstasy!:)
All glories to Shrila Prabhupada!

Keshav said...

We're glad you had such a fun time a the program last night! It really was a lot of fun!!!