Colours,vigour,joy and happiness a true festival where celebrations make heart dance and soul attains peace.
are four types of festivities celebrated:
The festival is organized in the honor of the birth of Sri Hit Harivansh Chandra Mahaprabhu, founder of the sect and the sectarian New Year ‘Hitabda’. It’s eleven day festival right from the Ashtami (Eighth day of bright fortnight of Vaishakh), Holy procession, with Holy Swaroops of Sri Radha and Lord Krishna, in tastefully decorated chariot, bands and musicians, devotees parties dancing and singing devotional songs, starts from the temple and culminates at Ras-Mandal, passing through the main streets and lanes of Sridham Vrindavan. The procession, which starts in the evening, becomes a daily routine for four days in accordance of age-old tradition. On the tenth day of the bright fortnight, the deity at Radhavallabh Temple is adorned in Royal Red garbs, whereas devotees keep awake whole night at Ras Mandal, singing congratulatory devotional songs (Badhai-Gaan) and Dhandhi-Dhandhan dancing.
Holy Musiacal Tribute:
The present reigning goswami honors these celebrations by reciting holy couplets:
"Mlechha sakal Hari yash vistarhin,
Param lalit Vani Uccharahi,
Karahin Praja Palan Sabae."
This congratulatory couplets recalls how Mughal Rulers rejoiced festivities of the birth of Sri Hit Mahaprabhu.On the Eleventh day of the bright fortnight, before the Mangla Aarti at Radhavallabh Temple delicacies are prepared in the temple well known "Dadhi Kando" prepared from (curd of cow's milk marinated with sandal Paste and saffron) sprinkled by the Goswamis on the devotees, followed by ritual bath of Holy Flute and Deity with Milk, Curd, Ghee, Honey, Sugar and Holy Yamuna water (Panchamrita Abhisheka) at Mangala itself. Congratulatory devotional couplets are sung by Samaji (Temple Musicians) sing heralding the birth of Incarnation of the Holy Flute, Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu.
Decorations and bhog:
During Sringaar, the Sanctorum is decorated, inside and outside with pitchers containing holy Yamuna water having 'panch-pallavas' (Five leaves of different holy threes), 'Bandanwars' (holy leaves tied in thread in a row) hung, decorated in new yellow colored garbs with various ornaments seated under a canopy having plantain trunks on its four sides. Various types of delicacies having Moothaa Laddos, Besan Ladoos, Mathari (sweet), Sweet Seva, Sakalpara, Salt Mathari, Mohanbhog etc. offered to Deity.Devotees offer alms to the poor. They make special offerings to the Deity to commemorate the Grand occasion. Feasting, congratulatory songs and rejoicings continues till 2nd, day of Jyestha Krishna (Dark fortnight) on which day "Shashthi" (Sixth day) of Sri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu is celebrated with great pomp, Van-Vihar (visit to Forest Groves) and Circumnavigation of Sri Vrindavan at night with Temple Musicians (Samaj) singing devotional songs in attendance, is performed with great serenity.
Annakoot and Marriage Ceremony (Vyahula) of the Deity is celebrated with pomp and show and is witnessed by thousands of devotees from all over country and abroad. The preparations for Annakoot are being made much in advance ten days earlier right from the Panchami (5th day of dark fortnight of Kartik) on larger scale.
Delicacies of all types, all varieties of pulses, several deco-liters of clarified butter, sugar, maida (very fine wheat flour), Besan (flour of destined black gram), various varieties of sweets prepared from milk and its products, savories and salts dishes, dry fruits of various types, seasonal fruits, curd and various preparations of it, rice of several varieties, vegetables. Many kinds, sauces, pickles, jams, pooris, kacharis, kachauris, many varieties of sweets containing sesame seeds (Gazak, Revadi) Pooas etc. are offered to the Deity. These culinary artistic delicacies are displayed in the Jagmohan in the afternoon on wooden high planks and this exhibition is a wonder in itself to see. Blessed are those, who, by the Grace of Sri Radhavallabhlalji, could get the gracious opportunity to have a bite of all that is offered, besides glimpse of the Lord's Krishna. In the Evening, after Sandhya Aarti, Marriage Ceremony of Deity is celebrated on a grand scale. The Deity adorns Golden Zari garbs this day, both during Annakoot and Marriage ceremony (This is being dealt separately).
According to Narada Pancharatra (it is one of the two oldest scriptures of Vaishanav literature, the other being Srimadbhagwat according to Asiatic Society of Bengal). Nityotsava (Daily celebrations), Nitya Saukhyo (Daily pleasure), Nitya Sri (Daily prosperity), Nitya Mang-alsh (Daily blessed). Yet at Sri Radhavallabh Temple, people celebrate and rejoice service the Lord not only daily, grand occasions, annual festivals, but also on fulfillment of their cherished desire, e.g. marriage of son or daughter, birth of a child, construct in of new house, promotion, acquisition of new vehicle, conferment of some honor, starting new business of profit therein, victory in some court case etc.
Holy offerings/Music and Decorations:
This is known as “ MANORATHA” – a wish celebrated by offerings “Mangal”, a (singing of praise of Sri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu and Sri Radhavallabhlal). Marriage Ceremony of the Lord is a time-consuming event and draws hundreds of devotees from different places. The temple is well decorated, inside and outside, special feast of the Lord, His garbs, Ornaments, curtains etc. are being prepared, and colorful electric and bright bulbs illuminate temple premises. Bands are in attendance, fireworks displayed, plantain trunks, various kinds of leaves and flowers, new pitchers with mango leaves and green coconut placed by the side of an special throne under a well decorated canopy in Jag Mohan (raised platform) on which the Deity comes out at the time of the ceremony to bless the devotees who celebrate the occasion for the pleasure and recreation of the Lord. Temple Musicians narrate special verses composed only to celebrate the festivity, whereas the Goswamis the holy priest under the direction and supervision of Teekayat Adhikari the chief priest perform various services and rituals connected with the occasion.
On the 13th day of bright fortnight of kartik, the devotees from all over the country and priests of the temple celebrate with great pomp and show Patotsava (Crowning) of Sri 1008 Sri Radhavallabhlal. It was on this day that the deity came to Vrindavan, and seated with all rituals at a high cliff known as (Oonchi Thaur) at Madan Ter on the banks of Holy Yamuna by Sri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu. The day is also known as "Vridavan Prakataya Festival" (A Discovery of Vrindavan celebrations). Till then, Holy town of Vrindavan remained disappeared amongst dense forests and cliffs, and it was Sri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu who discovered it. On this day Annakoot is celebrated at Sri Sewa kunj.
Holy offerings, celebrations and devotional music:
At the temple itself, festivities include Abhishek with Panchamrita (Five essential ingredients-Cow’s milk, Curd, Honey, clarified Butter, Sugar and finally with Holy Yamuna water), and decoration as it is being done on Sri HITOTSAVA DAY, with plantain trunks, Vandanwar, Mandap and the Deity seated in Hattari, Mohanthar, Ladoos, Boondi, Mathari etc. in large Mauritius are offered specially during Bhog and distributed amongst devotees and temple musicians.
Diwali, the Festivities of Lights and other festivals connected with it are celebrated with gaiety and pomp and are worth witnessing. From the 13th day of dark fortnight or Kartik (Khan Teras), the Deity sits in Sterling-Silver Hatari
On this day the Deity adorns Green Zari Garb (Baga) whereas on the next day, i.e. Roop Chaturdasi or Chhoti Deewali (14th day of dark fortnight), He adorns Red Zari attire and sits in Hatari made of Sterling Silver. On the Deepawali Day, the Lord adorns white zari dress, playing 'Chaupar' both times (Morning and Evening), enjoying His seat in Silver Hatari. The Temple is decorated with colorful electric bulbs and hundreds of earthen lamps.
On full moon day (Poornima), the Deity adorns crown (Mukut), under white canopy and white background (Pichwai), in snow white grab and white decoration, whereas the Temple Musicians sing "Mohan- Madan Tribhangi" after Evening Aarti (Sandhya). As the verse nears 'Madhukar Keli' stanza the curtain comes, the Holy Flute comes out from the Divine lips of the Deity inside the sanctum sanctorum and being placed dedicatedly with devotion on its Holy Seat (Gaddi).
Curtain is now opened to bless the devotees with the audience of the Deity. Later 'Shayan Bhog' (Night Supper) is offered to the Deity, which must have this time sweetened milk admixed with cardamom in several deco-liters, creamy thick layers (Malei) of the milk, along with several kilos of 'Chandrikas' (A sweet of snow-white color having small snowy crystals of sugar). The ritual is repeated again on the second, day of dark fortnight of Kartik as Second Sharad, but this time the Deity though garbed in snow-white dress, wears Rosy-red Turban (Paag) instead of Crown (Mukut). The tonic offerings are similar as on Sharad Poornima. The Temple Musicians sing before the Lord verse composed by Sri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu-"Lal ki Roop Madhuri Hoy".
Dussehra in bright fortnight of Ashwin is celebrated on the tenth day of this month when the Deity is decorated with heavy Royal Red Garbs and ornaments. On the ears Deity adorns germinated barley leaves known as "Jawara" in traditional parlance.
The temple musicians, besides singing before Deity verses related to Dussehra, sing special verse composed by Sri Hit Harivansh Mahaprabhu-"KHELET RAS RASIK BRAJ MANDAL".