Pushya Abhishek, a devotional festival in which the temple congregation comes together to profusely decorate the deities of Radha and Krishna with flowers, and then offer them an extended shower of over a ton of fresh flower petals.
In the early morning devotees gathered to pluck the petals from millions of fragrant flowers. In the evening 2000 devotees squeezed into the temple as thousands more gathered in the temple courtyards to watch via video screen.
Radhanath Swami, the spiritual head of the congregation, inaugurated the event with a touching talk about the meaning of the festival. Then, with great anticipation, conch shells were blown and to the sweet tune of kirtan, the doors to the temple’s alter were opened for the darshan of Radha Gopinath (Radha and Krishna) dressed in outfits and ornaments made of flowers. Next, the abhieshek (bath) began. From behind the alter, temple priest rained down flower petals, first pink, then red, then white, yellow, orange. With each new color the crowd roared with approval. As the kirtan slowly grew in intensity, the pile of petals climbed from Radha Gopinath’s feet, to their waists, to their necks and then began to cascade to the alter floor, sometimes like a waterfall, sometimes like an avalanche.