Cool Candana for Their Lordships
Candana Yatra is a festival where the Lord is smeared with sandalwood paste to cool His transcendental body. The festival is celebrated for 21 days during summer time of the year.
Candana Yatra festival begins on the most auspicious day of Akshaya trithiya also known as the yugarambha. Akshaya Trithiya is also the day when Lord Badrinath starts to receive worship from earthly beings after being worshipped for six months by the Demigods.
The Candana yatra festival has its beginning a few hundred years back, when the Lord suffering from intense heat in Vrindavan requested His dear devotee Srila Madhvendra Puri to get Him candana to apply over His form.
As is done traditionally at all ISKCON temples throughout the candana yatra festival, the utsava-murtis were offered sandalwood paste throughout the entire festival.
On the first day of Candana Yatra, 6 May 2011, all the Deities on the temple altar were fully decorated with fragrant Candana and offered special flower dresses lovingly prepared by the devotees. This is the only day in the year when the Deities are not offered any cloth dress. The devotees also toiled for 10 days to grind two kilograms of pure sandalwood paste in Srila Prabhupada Quarters which was thereafter offered to the Deities during the entire festival.
To smear the form of the Lord with sandalwood is an act of devotion since sandalwood is the best ointment and it is very pleasing to the Lord who is suffering from the scorching summer heat!