Festivals have always had a special place in human society. Constitutionally, every soul is eternally in search of happiness, and the purpose of festivals is to fulfill this very search. Life in the present age is so tough that even to maintain basic living standards one has to undergo a severe struggle. Therefore, festivals are eagerly awaited because these are the times when we can keep aside our troubles and just have fun with our near and dear ones. Moreover for the Krsna consciousness devotees nearly every other day brings forth a festival. These spiritual festivals offer us many advantages. We get association of like-minded people and a devotional atmosphere conducive for our bhakti.

The Chida-dahi Mahotsav, also known as the Chipped Rice Festival of Panihati, is a yearly celebration of the pastimes of Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami and Lord Nityananda Prabhu. This astonishing pastime took place on the banks of the Ganges at Panihati, which is just north of Calcutta. Lord Caitanya and his associates enjoyed many transcendental pastimes here. Chida-dahi Mahotsav remembers how the Lord mercifully reciprocated with His devotees by arranging, through Nityananda Prabhu and Raghunatha dasa, to provide an ecstatic feast of yoghurt and chipped rice, along with various other nectar foodstuffs. Linked below is an excerpt from Caitanya-caritamrta, Antyalila chapter 6, which describes this wonderful pastime in detail.

ISKCON Sri Narasimha Giridhari Mandir celebrates this festival every year by going to a nearby water body (like Kaveri) and with grand distribution of chida-dahi maha-prasadam. This takes the form of one day picnic where both devotees and guests are taken. Varieties of preparations are made by mixing chipped rice with condensed milk, yogurt, sugar, bananas, mangoes and assorted savories, just like Raghunatha dasa prepared for the devotees. These are then offered to the deities and distributed to the devotees. Devotees then narrate the pastime from the Caitanya-caritamrta and discussed the life of Dasa Gosvami and the importance of loving service for the vaishnavas.

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