The very highlight was the fact, that HH Sacinandana Maharaja came to attend the event - despite the lock-down! His participation was kept as a secret until the very last moment in order to avoid big crowds of devotees being drawn to Simhachalam, which may have gotten the local devotees into trouble.
Due to the festivities being celebrated in a small circle, the mood was very sweet and intimate, and we all derived great bliss and satisfaction at heart to have Maharaja's close association in kirtan and hearing his deep and wonderful katha. Other speakers and kirtaneers were further included through internet and live-stream, and many devotees around the world witnessed the festivities through internet.
I involved myself in helping to decorate the temple room. We arranged for white, round paper lanterns of various sizes and gave them a silver, golden and bronze touch with spray cans of color. And we hung them from the ceiling in various heights. We also collected heaps of pine cones in the surrounding forests, gave them also a bright, colorful touch and tied them up on strings - just like the mango leaves are strung up in India for festive decorations - to hang them across the temple room. Since the temple room has dark wooden walls and ceiling, it really needs bits of color to lighten it up. And the whole arrangement looked indeed nice and festive!
Another blissful service was to help with the sandesh outfit. For the first time I had the opportunity to go on the altar and participate in this highly transcendental seva. We were six or seven devotees, all working rather spontaneously on all parts of Lord Nrsimhadeva's body, with a senior and experienced mataji coordinating our efforts and ideas.
All those parts in the photo which are light brown, are the Lord's skin and made with burfi, and the rest is colored sandesh. I made Nrsimhadeva's dark pink dhoti with the blue/yellow flowers, and I was asked to do all the fine details in the Lord's and Prahlada's face: the tilak, eye brows, whiskers, mouth, the mane on His chin, etc. Sometimes I had to take the help of a little wooden toothpick-like stick, hoping that it wouldn't tickle Him unpleasantly around the jaws. And He patiently tolerated our clumsy offerings of devotion....
The entire event was a very unique and extraordinary Nrsimha Caturdasi festival - on all levels....!
Your servant, Devaki dd