ISKCON Temples in the USA: Celebrations, Feasts, and Sacred Festivals

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishna movement, has a significant presence in the United States with numerous temples across the country. These temples are not just places of worship but vibrant centers of cultural and spiritual activities. This blog post explores the various ISKCON temples in the USA, focusing on their celebrations, feasts, and sacred festivals.

ISKCON Temples Across the USA

1. ISKCON New York (Brooklyn):

  • Temple History: Known as the birthplace of ISKCON in the West, the Brooklyn temple holds a special place in the hearts of devotees.
  • Activities: Daily kirtans, Bhagavad-gita classes, and community outreach programs.

2. ISKCON Los Angeles (New Dvaraka):

  • Temple History: Established in the late 1960s, this temple is one of the largest ISKCON centers in the USA.
  • Activities: Extensive educational programs, yoga classes, and a vibrant Sunday Feast.

3. ISKCON Chicago (New Vrindaban):

  • Temple History: A spiritual hub in the Midwest, known for its beautiful deity worship.
  • Activities: Regular spiritual discourses, youth programs, and food distribution services.

4. ISKCON Alachua (New Raman Reti):

  • Temple History: A large and active community of devotees, hosting numerous festivals throughout the year.
  • Activities: Farm projects, community schools, and retreats.

5. ISKCON Dallas (Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji):

  • Temple History: Renowned for its Deities of Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji, the oldest Deities in ISKCON.
  • Activities: Educational programs, vegetarian restaurant, and cultural events.

Sacred Festivals and Celebrations

1. Janmashtami (Krishna’s Appearance Day):

  • Significance: Celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
  • Celebrations: Temples are decorated elaborately, and festivities include midnight kirtan, dramatic performances, and a grand feast. Devotees fast till midnight and then enjoy a sumptuous feast prepared with devotion.

2. Ratha Yatra (Festival of Chariots):

  • Significance: Commemorates Lord Jagannath’s journey to the Gundicha Temple.
  • Celebrations: Large chariots carrying the deities of Jagannath, Baladeva, and Subhadra are pulled through the streets. This festival is marked by vibrant processions, singing, and dancing. Major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco host grand Ratha Yatra festivals.

3. Gaura Purnima (Appearance of Lord Chaitanya):

  • Significance: Celebrates the appearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the proponent of the sankirtana movement.
  • Celebrations: The day includes fasting till moonrise, kirtan, dramatic presentations about Lord Chaitanya’s life, and a grand feast.

4. Diwali and Govardhan Puja:

  • Significance: Diwali marks Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya, while Govardhan Puja celebrates Lord Krishna lifting Govardhan Hill.
  • Celebrations: Temples are illuminated with lamps, and devotees offer a mountain of food (Annakuta) to Krishna. The festivals are accompanied by fireworks, kirtans, and elaborate feasts.

5. Nrsimha Chaturdashi (Appearance of Lord Nrsimhadeva):

  • Significance: Celebrates the appearance of Lord Nrsimhadeva, the half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
  • Celebrations: Includes fasting till dusk, special prayers, and a feast honoring Lord Nrsimhadeva.

Feast Offerings

A significant aspect of ISKCON’s festivities is the tradition of prasadam (sanctified food). Each festival and feast day is an opportunity for devotees to prepare and offer a wide variety of dishes to the deities, which are then distributed to the congregation. Some popular feast items include:

  • Savory Dishes: Samosas, pakoras, puris, and various types of curries.
  • Sweets: Gulab jamun, rasgulla, laddu, and halva.
  • Beverages: Lassi, flavored milk, and herbal teas.
  • Specialty Items: Unique festival offerings like chhapan bhog (56 dishes) during Janmashtami and Govardhan Puja.

Community Involvement and Outreach

ISKCON temples in the USA are known for their community involvement and outreach programs. They run free food distribution programs like Food for Life, which serves millions of free meals to the needy annually. Temples also engage in educational activities, offering courses on Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and other Vedic literatures. Additionally, many temples have active youth groups, counseling services, and engage in interfaith dialogues.


The ISKCON temples in the USA are not just places of worship but vibrant centers of culture and spirituality. Through their grand celebrations, sacred festivals, and sumptuous feasts, they offer a glimpse into the rich Vaishnavite tradition and provide a sense of community and spiritual enrichment to thousands of devotees and visitors. Whether it is the grandeur of Janmashtami, the joyful processions of Ratha Yatra, or the illuminating celebrations of Diwali, each festival is a testament to the timeless teachings and joyous practices of the Hare Krishna movement.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

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