Himalayan Fest Wrap Up

June 9, 2007 at 11:06 am Leave a comment

BY CARU DASA

Jun 8, SPANISH FORK, UTAH (FRI) — The Himalayan Fest, now in its sixth year, commemorates the Grand Opening of the Spanish Fork temple in June of 2001.

Judging from the proceeds at the gate ($ 2.00 adults $ 1.00 children), 800 guests attended the event. Considering it was graduation weekend, that was a good turnout. Colleges are on reduced enrollment from now until Labor Day. That is the biggest reservoir effectively dried up for three months. The monsoon of students will return in time for September’s India Fest.

It was a bigger crowd than last year, made to appear even more so by the new stage next to the temple and lake. Food, gifts, temple building, animals, were all compacted closer together than last year, which better connected the artists and audience. There was a lot more intimacy for a festival of this medium size than can be achieved using the main amphitheater stage. We’ll save that big stage for Llama Fest (July 14) and India Fest (Sept. 15) both of which attract 3,000-4,000 people.

Many parents came with their children, who had a great time talking with the cockatoos and macaw in the aviary, milling amongst the thirty mama llamas and their adolescent babies, ogling the lake’s koi, some of which are like 15 pound rainbows, and spotting distant peacocks who somewhat remove themselves from festival crowds.

There was a line up of performers for three hours. It was all first class entertainment, Dancers Shatakshi from Boise, Ras Lila from Los Angeles, Puja from Denver, Anju’s local Nepali students, Sashi on sitar and Shreyas on Saxophone (playing South Indian ragas to Krishna) – all performed magnificently to enthusiastic applause.

At one point during this idyllic June evening I was looking at Rasa Lila in a striking Krishna pose on stage, underneath the dramatic Rajastani style dome. I was hearing the music mixed with waterfall sounds flowing from the feet of Lord Shiva 75 feet behind her, and appreciating the majestic backdrop of the Wasatch mountains. The scene was perfect.

Guests sat in the cool of the temple verandah and appeared for long stretches of time to not move even a muscle. While performing Yamaraj in the Satyavan Savitri drama along with Jairam and Mekala, I had a sense that the audience was so caught in the suspense they were holding their collective breaths (as was Satyavan during his ‘death’ scene).

This locally produced drama (I wrote the script and created the soundtrack a few years ago with Karuna, Jai Krishna, and Randy Seely) elicited a lot of very favorable comments afterwards from westerners and Indians alike. Aja Govinda immediately asked for a copy so they can perform it in Boise.

Guests purchased 300 plates of sumptuous prasadam, and patronized the gift store to the amount of $ 3.000.00. One lady alone spent nearly $ 1,000.00 for Deities, handbags, saris etc. Some kind donations went into the hundi.

Many, many thanks to the following volunteers who made possible this magic event. Please forgive if we inadvertently omitted any name: the Journey boys (parking and food service). Yogi Shah (admissions), Sandhya, Henriett, Pragna, Cary (gift store). Jairam (thorough pre event temple cleansing, set up), Braj (set up) Alanath (prasadam cashier), Sri Hanuman (drawings), Mekala (everything including learning lots of lines for Savitri). Devindra (painting, canopy set up etc.) Mark Lowry (everything), Jai Krishna and son Zack (kirtan and drama). Aja Govinda and his father Sri Hari (Q & A in the temple room throughout).

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