Sammamish's Vedic Center celebrates birth of Krishna
By KEVIN ENDEJAN
Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor
August 10, 2012 · Updated 3:49 PM
Vibrant colors, spicy fragrances and celebratory chants filled the Sammamish Plateau Thursday night as thousands celebrated Janmastami — the birth of Krishna — at the Vedic Cultural Center.
"We're sharing out culture and our love with the public," said Hari Vilas, president of the center.
There was an estimated 5,000 people from all over Washington who attended the celebration one of the Hindu religion's most revered deities.
While many were associated with the Vedic faith there were also several curious residents who dropped by.
"I met some folks who just walked in from a neighborhood, they just want to see what it's like here," said Nanda Suta Das, temple director.
There was a little bit of something for everybody.
Various displays were put up depicting the story of Krishna's birth.
Close to 30 children performed a variety of musical chants.
And, of course, there was the free food, which included strawberry havala and various Indian curries.
This was the fourth year since the temple was built that the celebration has taken place in Sammamish, and the 26th year it has been in the region in one form or another.
Only the Anada Mela festival is larger. That event drew 20,000 people to Redmond in late July.
King County Sheriff's officers were on hand to handle a heavy flow of traffic and deal with any parking concerns for the event that lasted past midnight.
The Janmastami celebration will continue through Sunday, Aug. 12. Hours at the Vedic Center, which is located at 1420 228 Avenue SE, are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
"We're trying to be a good neighbor," Suta Das said. "The whole idea this is a welcoming event and we want everyone to come."
Hiral Das serves a plate of curry and havala to an excited patron Thursday night.
Nine-month-old Kanha Sharma was dressed sharply for Thursday's celebration.
The Vedic Center worship room was decorated with various offerings to Krishna that included flowers, fruit and baked sweet goods.
Many participants stood at a Krisha's temple where they provided him a push on his swing.
Contact Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor Kevin Endejan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-391-0363, ext. 5054.