9093972899?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen

ISKCON New Vrindaban has started its festival season, which runs from May to September, and draws pilgrims, gives inspiration and association to visiting devotees, helps to maintain the temple, and provides engagement and financial support for devotee staff.

During the pandemic, New Vrindaban, with its 2,200 acres, spacious temple room and strict following of Covid protocols, has been a popular destination for devotees looking to safely experience the deity darshan and temple programs they’ve been missing.

Now, as Covid cases in the U.S. fall to at a seven-day average of below 15,000 new daily cases, and vaccinations rise to 61% of the eligible population, states across the country are easing restrictions. One of these, New Vrindaban’s home state of West Virginia, is set to end its indoor mask mandate next weekend.

This will be just in time for ISKCON New Vrindaban’s first major festival of the season, the rebranded 24 Hour Kirtan, which will take place on the weekend of June 19th to 20th.

This time the well-known event will be dubbed the “24 PLUS Hour Kirtan.” Kicking off with an Adivas ceremony at Srila Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold on Friday night, the main event will run from 11:00am on Saturday to 9:00pm on Sunday, featuring 34 hours of continuous kirtan.

“During past 24 Hour Kirtans, we’ve lost about six hours of kirtan, because not everyone can stay up through the night, so they don’t get the benefit of the full 24 hours,” says communications director Anuradha Dasi. “This year, we’re encouraging devotees to plan their days so that they can take ten hours to sleep etc, and still participate in 24 hours of kirtan. There will also be a Harinama Katha class instead of the regular Bhagavatam class on Saturday and Sunday mornings, by Rama Raya Prabhu of the New York Harinama Ashrama, as well as by a second generation devotee.”

With West Virginia lifting its indoor mask mandate, the kirtan will take place in the spacious temple room in front of Sri Sri Radha Vrindaban Chandra. However those who are not vaccinated are requested to take precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing, and signs will be put up recommending the same.

 “We will also have large screens and speakers outside on the grassy areas between the temple and the restaurant, so that devotees can sit outdoors to enjoy the kirtan,” says Anuradha.

“We are hoping that the pandemic has re-emphasized the concept of personal responsibility to the devotees; not only for their spiritual advancement, but also for their physical well being,” she adds. “So we’re emphasizing personal responsibility, to wear your masks, and enjoy the kirtan outside if you’re not vaccinated.”

Throughout the weekend, breakfast, lunch, and a light late dinner will be served for all; while a sumptuous buffet, tasty fun-foods, freshly made juices and prasadam bubble teas will be available for purchase at Govinda’s restaurant.

Read more: https://iskconnews.org/new-vrindaban-launches-festival-season-as-restrictions-lift-in-west-virginia,7878/


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