The annual Gaura Purnima Festival is the most exciting event of the year at Mayapur.
Since Sri Mayapur is the transcendental appearance place of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir serves as the international spiritual headquarters for ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada desired all devotees to come to Mayapur at least once in a year as far as possible, to get charged with the unlimited mercy of Mahaprabhu, and Gaura Purnima is the best time to do this.
The festival officially begins after the GBC meetings and festivities extend to about 3 weeks. But many devotees start to assemble at Mayapur even one week earlier, at the beginning of the GBC meetings. So, about one month before Gaura Purnima each year Mayapur gets flooded by devotees from all around the world and everyone is enjoying blissful sadhu-sanga.
First week senior and experienced leading Vaishnavas conduct sat-sanga and other seminars (organized by the Mayapur Institute). Award nights praise devotees for preaching endeavors such as congregational preaching and book distribution.
Second week all devotees perform annual Navadvipa Mandala parikrama.
Third week is filled with festivities and cultural programs. Various cultural entertainment programs such as dance, drama, ISKCON cinemas, kirtanas, and bhajanas are performed every evening. A mini-market is set up for the devotees to procure unique Mayapur products, as well as other devotional items. Almost every day is dedicated to one major festivities event:
- Radha Madhava boating festival
- Santipur festival
- Ganga puja
- Ratha Yatra festival
- Gaura Purnima day celebrations
- Gaura Purnima Courses
- Jagannatha Misra’s feast
On the whole, the month long Gaura Purnima festival is very well worth participating in!