Krishna Devotees to perform at ISKCON Temple

Go PalsMUMBAI: A young group of Krishna devotees in Dindoshi named Go-Pals is rehearsing for their December 31 performance at the ISKCON temple in Juhu. They will play devotional fusion music before hundreds of devotees who choose to begin the new year on a spiritual note. Shrines across the city are preparing to welcome vast crowds on January 1.

Last year 3,000-odd devotees visited the Balaji temple around 10,000-15,000 prayed at Mumbadevi.

Siddhivinayak ordinarily sees around one lakh visitors on new year's day. This season, Siddhivinayak will open for darshan at 4.00 am on January 1, two hours before the regular timing of 6.00 am. "We expect around one lakh people to arrive given that new year falls on a weekend," says deputy CEO Satish Mali. "Families also bring their children for the vacation is under way."

Over in Dadar, the Swaminarayan temple is usually full to bursting on Sunday given the special evening worship from 5.00-7.00 pm. "One only has to see the crowds that are released into Dadar railway station at the close of puja," says spokesperson Kundan Oza. "Unwary strangers ask if a film screening has just ended."

Few temples are hosting special prayers on December 31 or January 1 save for ISKCON in Juhu whose devotees comprise a large segment of foreigners. "We have devised a theme party whose leitmotif is Lord Krishna," says spokesperson Parijata Devi.

The musical band named Go-Pals will be the highlight of the soiree. But ISKCON will begin its programme of December 31 with an evening prayer followed by prasad for devotees who have assembled. Then, youth groups will host a memory game centred around the Govardhan hill where Krishna played with his cowherd friends. "This will be followed by a balloon blowing event, not for children but for adults," laughs Parijata Devi.

Like most new year parties do, the temple will organise a game of lotto – with a difference. "We are holding a quiz contest on Lord Krishna, and those who get the maximum answers right will get to play housie with their answer chits rather than tickets," says the spokesperson.

Mere mortals often find it tough to stick to their new year resolutions, so the temple will stage an inspirational skit on the subject.