“When we work together and we harmonize our hearts in that way, then God performs miracles, even through us.” – Radhanath Swami
The devotees of Radhanath Swami’s annual Vrindavan Yatra (pilgrimage) were recently featured in a National Geographic Channel documentary called India’s Mega Kitchens. An entire episode was dedicated to the yatra devotees as part of a series of shows which focus on the scale, volume, technology and process of large kitchens. The episode was written by Purnima Rao and directed by Rajendra Kondapalli.
During the auspicious Kartik Maas, a month dedicated to the practice of bhakti, thousands of devotees visit the holy town of Vrindavan. The yatra team starts planning months in advance. The organizing team visits Vrindavan and Govardhan to select the site to set up a temporary kitchen where meals for 5000 will be cooked during the ten day yatra. Blueprints are made and the temporary kitchen is built up accordingly. Eco-friendly chulhas (clay stoves) are built using firewood as fuel. Huge pots and other equipment are brought in. The whole area is cleaned and set up a day in advance. On the days of yatra, meal preparations start as early as 2.30 am. Volunteers enthusiastically take part in the services assigned to them. Different teams are there for vegetable chopping, cooking, serving, etc.
Through the use of diagrams and statistics as well as interviews and beautiful footage, the show captures not only the fascinating engineering that goes into developing and running a traveling megakitchen, but also the devotion of the engineers, cooks and participants of the yatra.