Austin, TX 4/6/2012: Through the months of brown drought, Austin has patiently waited for the warm, soft rains to come and tantalize the bluebonnets to blanket the meadows again. If you drive out on FM 1826 in the Hill Country, the Radha Madhav Dham wildflowers are out in abundance. Below grey skies a lazy light falls on scattered beds of mustard making room for the Golden Groundsels and the Giant purple Spiderworts. In the meadows of Radha Madhav Dham they sing: "Jai, Jai, Jai, Jai!"
Just as the sun hits Barsana Hill, you can walk down the center path past Radha Kund; just before Prem Sarovar pond and Govardhan Hill, there's a meadow of wildflowers that, if you try hard enough, you can hear them singing faintly with the warm breeze. The green is back and colors abound. "Come one and Come all!"
Radha Madhav Dham Mela: Saturday April 28, from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.
With all the fixings and treats of Indian cuisine and culture, this year's Mela welcomes Austin to celebrate Spring and new beginnings. For starters, stop off at the famous bazaar providing its multi-colored and elaborately patterned fabrics of saris, shawls and kurtas; its intricately designed bangles, toe rings, anklets and earrings, including all the sounds of an Indian village market place.
Relax; have a chai and watch the children ride on top of ponies and camels. Get your face painted and watch Bonzo Crunch the clown juggle his spinning pizza pies. And for the cricket enthusiasts, bring your cricket bat with you to this year's Mela, for there will be a batting cage set up especially for you.
Some of Radha Madhav Dham community kids were asked this week about their favorite aspects of the Mela:
"I can't wait for the Dosas!" (Dosa is a large, thin crepe wrapping around a mound of delicious Indian spiced potato-pea mixture.)
One parent commented, "For me, I just like to see my kids enjoy the fun, the games; the little ones especially like the petting zoo."
"NO, the GAMES!" One of the teen girls said, "Rolling Down the Yamuna, that's my favorite, or no... I like throwing darts at the heart-shaped balloons!"
"The prizes! The prizes at Radha Madhav Dham are the best!" Another girl said.
Still another, "Overall, my favorite thing to do at the Mela is the Henna Mehindi hand painting."
Inside the myriad of food booths are offerings of Indian dishes, including samosas, pau bhaji, subji masala and much more. There will also be an Indian sweet stand, and ice cream and lemonade, and don't forget the delicious mango lassis (an Indian smoothie of mango).
Take a seat in our air-conditioned Temple where you'll enjoy authentic dances from around India, featuring Aparupa Chatterjee from College Station performing Odissi dance from Orissa. Other dances include Bharatnatyam Classical and fusion, Khatak and Khatak fusion, Bhangra and Dandia. In addition, Swami Nikhilanand will be leading a series of fun and interactive sessions entitled: "Hinduism: Myth vs. Fact" and "Being Good & Finding God," as well as meditation and kirtan.
Or for those who just want to tour the land of Radha Madhav Dham, there will be tram rides throughout the day, as well as walking tours through the Holy Places and the beautiful wildflower meadows.
Finally if you're interested in what the moon was doing when you were born, there will be an authentic Vedic Jyotish astrologer who will be available to create your birth chart.
Bottom line, Mela at Radha Madhav Dham will be a bonanza of joyous, wholesome fun for everyone. And guaranteed you'll leave feeling uplifted and looking forward to coming back again soon.
Past mela glimpses: