Friday, 15 March 2013

Hare Krishna and Govinda's culinary fusion

Dear reader,
Do you know why the Hare Krishna monks wear orange or why the Hindi Gods are often painted blue? No? Neither did I - until today. Because today I spent half the day in a Hare Krishna temple. Oh yes. OK - dear friends in Europe - I can just sense how you are jumping up and out of your sofa right now, pulling your hair and rolling your eyes: What- will -be- the -next -crazy- thing- that- lady -does!?  Because we have all seen them right - on the streets in snowy Norway wearing their orange light clothes, with no hair and with the tambourine singing, dancing and laughing: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare...

You see- today I was invited for lunch by a friend, and the restaurant ( I will get back to that) is in the temple compound - at ISKCON Mumbai, close to Juhu beach. So before lunch, we went to look at the temple. You know I am a curious soul right, and this is also a part of religious Mumbai., so why not just dive into the Hare Krishna religion - or culture - as they describe it themselves?  
The temple 
At the entrance of the temple- colorful saris and white marble
ISKCON, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is a large compound which consists of an auditorium, restaurants, a seven-storey guest house and then there is the temple. The temple is very spacious and made of pure white marble. It has a garden, and the inside of the temple is quite impressive with the large golden doors where the Krishna statues are placed. They are not always open, because Krishna has to eat and rest - we were told-, so when the doors open, there is a crowd of cheering people in front, and you can get the blessing too. And the music and words Hare Krishna is all around, all the time.
The monk Nitaihari - and the temple garden. Inside people are waiting for the doors to open. 
We started to talk to the monk Nitaihari who offered to show us around, and we had an interesting tour. He told us that there is a large festival coming up, the Gaura Purnima (Golden Full Moon) on the 27.3. Everybody is welcome, so if you want to have a look, that could be a nice time I guess. You can read more about the temple compound, festivals and activities here.

Nitaihari also showed us the quarters of the founder of Hare Krishna, who was actually from Mumbai - also something new to learn!
This is a doll- copy of the founder - placed around in his quarters. 
Srila Prabhupada is worshiped at the temple. He was from Mumbai, but in 1965 he went to New York and there in the Hippie movement, the Hare Krishna culture was born. From there it spread world wide, very quickly. He died in 1977, but the Hare Krishna continued to grow. They have more than 500 temples around the world now, and the one here in Mumbai is one of the largest ones. You can read more about the Hare Krishna movement and the founder here.

Here they are waiting for the red curtain to be pulled aside.
The Krishna appears and the crowd is cheering.
The temple foundation also runs a lot of charity, like Food for Life - giving out large amounts of food to school children in Mumbai. They believe in a very simple life- and that my friend- is why they wear orange. Because orange is the color of fire, and it symbolize that they have "burnt" /got rid of - their materialistic belongings. Because in their belief, the body is not material, but spiritual,  and we are all energies and part of a larger whole. And that is also why the gods are given a blue color - to show that they are part of eternity, just like the sky or the sea.

And then we went for lunch! And Govinda's is not just any restaurant. This is a cuisine with a philosophy. Offering a transcendental, truly blessed and karma-free dining experience with a wide variety of pure, healthy, wholly vegetarian, international culinary fusion. Delicious food is cooked with love and spiritually sanctified to elevate one's consciousness, enchant the taste buds beyond imagination and fully satisfy the soul. (text from their folder) It was a large buffet, and lots of tasty dishes- and like my friend said: Because the food is always offered to Krishna first, we know it is healthy- and well, - blessed.
A culinary fusion at Govinda's 
Well, dear reader, another memorable day in Mumbai for me - with Hare Krishna and Govinda.
Have a wonderful Friday evening, dear reader:-)

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