Stunning Celebration : Festival of Flowers for Janmasthami at ISKCON of Houston


HOUSTON: On Thursday, August 25, there was an extraordinary festival held at ISKCON of Houston to celebrate Janmashtami – Lord Krishna’s appearance day.  This celebration was extra special as it also marked the 30th Anniversary of the installation of our Texas-sized deities, Sri Sri Radha Nila Madhava, at the Houston temple .  Additionally, this was the first time our deities were bathed (abhisek) with thousands of rose petals.

The affair began a few days prior as delighted volunteers assisted in preparation of stunning decorations for this memorable observance.  A plentiful of vibrant roses, carnations and mums touched with baby’s breath were carefully assembled by devotees to complement the already admirable temple room.  A unique touch were strands of popcorn that decorated the altar beams vertically with red carnations giving the altar a resemblance of an entryway to heaven where the deities dwell in their divine presence.

The deities looked glorious with their outfits of burnt sienna resembling the color warm orange palette of a morning sunrise.  Thousands of guests made their way into the temple room to glance upon the deities all day and evening long. Just like one embraces a new day, in taking the beauty of the earth’s morning hues, every person present embraced the warmth of Sri Sri Radha Nila Madhava as they radiated pure brilliance.

As is a big birthday bash for Krishna, there were a plentiful of things occurring on temple grounds. Lively kirtans were held while the beaming deities were bathed in rose petals throughout the evening.  The grounds couldn’t be more inviting as there were booths for newcomers to become acquainted with the day’s celebration.  There was a welcome booth along with tilak booth, ISKCON 50 booth, Japa booth and Nila Madhava’s Boutique.  For congregational members, there was a booth for Goswami Academy, abhisek and jhulan (swinging) of baby Krishna.  The booth for henna art was quite active with girls getting gopi designs on their smiling faces.


This glorification of Krishna’s appearance day was enhanced by special guests, His Holiness Veda Vyasa Swami and Consul Mr. R.D. Joshi.

Cultural programs included dances to celebrate Lord Krishna, music, singing and interfaith prayers.  Other entertaining performances included Hindustani classical bhajans, semi classical dances, classical Odissi dances and Polish dancers all of which  surcharged the atmosphere with their energy. The Hare Krishna kids also performed their contemporary dance to the captive audience.

Interfaith  participation included prayer by Dr. Zahra Jamal, Associate Director for community engagement, Boniuk Institute, Rice University; Lowell A Davis, Executive Director of St. Basil’s Singers and students Summer learning school of St. Basil’s school of Gregorian Chant Campus ministry, University of St. Thomas; Bahai prayer; Veronica Ajak and family presented Christian catholic prayer; Islam prayer by Saif Hassan with Aga Khan Council.

The ISKCON youth group, Jiva Jago, presented a remarkable drama about Krishna’s appearance.  Every participant’s performance and prayers was received openly and amicably. This wonderful cultural program incorporated different faiths and performances  showcasing unity in diversity.

As the evening progressed closer to midnight, a class was held by HH Veda Vyasa Swami glorifying Lord Krishna’s appearance. He reminded all – just as the sun is always there, regardless of whether it can be seen or not, Krishna too is always there. He also advised that we use this body in service to Krishna because everything belongs to him.


That is exactly what occurred  at  midnight during aarti and kirtan. Devotees used their arms to reach over Krishna and Radharani to shower them chest deep with rose petals.  Others used their eyes to take part in the festivities.  Everyone used their voices to sing in devotion the maha mantra. Many devotees danced in ecstasy in their euphoric state of love!  Afterward, devotees immersed themselves in sumptuous prasadam.

The following day, Friday, August 26, was a much more intimate family-oriented celebration of the appearance day of our beloved Acharya and spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He is the Founder-Acharya and spiritual mentor of the Hare Krishna movement.  Disciples and grand-disciples of his as well as  devotees glorified him. They thanked him for the transcendental knowledge he has bestowed on us fallen souls, the international Hare Krishna family he created and most importantly, for showing us what true love really is – loving service to Krishna and to one another.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was showered with love, admiration and sweet sincere words of gratitude.  He was also showered in ‘tons’ of rose petals for his vyasa puja with elated kirtans and blissful dancing devotees.  Showering our spiritual master in rose petals was a first time for the Houston devotee community.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, the devotees enjoyed prasadam in the company of one another.  Somehow, it seemed that his birthday feast consisted of endless cake as he had four tables of amazing prasadam offerings.

It was an extraordinary gathering of souls on the Lord’s birthday and the following day indeed. I have no doubt Krishna was happy, seeing us together in merriment celebrating these auspicious days. We offer our profound respect and gratitude to our Founder-Acharya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, because without him, these two momentous celebrations, with our Hare Krishna family, would not have occurred.

Visit  ISKCON of Houston, where anyone and everyone is welcomed at 1320 West 34th Street in Northwest Houston. Website:, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.