No words can explain how excited I was to do this site visit project, solely due to the fact that I genuinely love to learn about other religions. So I called up my best friend to join me and we decided to finally enter the Hare Krishna temple in Coconut Grove that we have always wanted to go in. The whole experience was easier than we had planned and one of the most enjoyable days I have had in a long time. As soon as we set up a date with the temple, we were welcomed in with opening arms and incredible smiles. We were first led into the gorgeous main temple that had a small gazeebo in the center with a stage filed with idols behind it. First thing we see is a group of people with smiles on their faces singing, dancing and playing music; they were simply rejoicing on behalf of their God. It was a happy site to see, and unexpectedly two members walk over and place handmade flower necklaces over our heads. They told us to join them in their chants, to come and dance along! We, being the awkward ones we are, decided otherwise but to sit down on some comfy pillows and clap along. When their ceremony was done, some other monks walked over and handed us some of their delicious homemade food. We couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable first half of our visit. Once we were done eating and photographing the entire inside, we moved towards the outside of the temple.
The monks had taken their time to create a gorgeous garden filled with beautiful flowers and plants. Also a lovely touch was that they had many cats roaming around the garden that they took care of and welcomed any strays to join as well. We had the opportunity to speak to a monk who surprisingly was our age! We all sat down and simply talked about his reason to choosing this temple, and his past experiences in life. I will tell you this, he was one of the nicest man I have ever met with a heart willing to share. He wanted us to learn as much as we could through his experiences and how the Hare Krishna religion and this specific temple has helped him change for the better. We all promised to keep in touch, and I now have a new Facebook friend to prove it! We finished off with photographing the outside garden and then thanking everyone who had been amazing help towards us and allowing us to enjoy our visit. I can honestly say I appreciate this religion and its followers, the whole experience was pleasant. Unlike my family’s religion, Catholicism, it was more of a group experience with a more of an accepting feel. It wasn’t so stuffy, quiet or rule abiding; it was fun, loud and never had I wanted to dance in the middle of a ceremony so bad! My friend and I have decided to maybe come back to one of their weekend rituals to experience the larger community and maybe this time dance along!