A Little Piece of India in the Heart of Utah County

Driving through Spanish fork on the way to Woodland Hills, it’s hard to miss the elaborate, white domes of the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple. Set on a hill surrounded by fields and homes, the building certainly stands in contrast to its surroundings. Patterned after a famous devotional palace in India, construction on the Krishna Temple began in 1998, and it has been an noteworthy Utah County landmark ever since.

Residents living nearby are well aware that, in addition to being a Hindu sanctuary and center of Indian culture, the Krishna Temple is a tourist attraction that draws people from all faiths and walks of life. That impact is felt most greatly in springtime, when thousands of people arrive to experience the Holi Festival of Colors. The two-day Holi festival marks the end of winter and arrival of spring, which revelers celebrate by wearing white clothing and throwing vividly colored powders into the air and at each other. The cornstarch-based powders come in blue, pink, green, violet, yellow, red, and orange, creating a billowy rainbow around the Krishna Temple site. It is quite a vision, and people come away from the event smiling and completely covered in saturated hues.

If you happened to be in the neighborhood over the weekend of March 26, you no doubt noticed a significant, if temporary, increase in the local population. The Spanish Fork festival is so popular that it is often noted as the largest of its kind in the United States. People come to immerse themselves in this ancient expression of positivity and community, enjoying Indian foods, yoga, music, and dance. The festival is open to the public, and it is a family-friendly, alcohol-free event. That said, many of the attendees are teenagers and college-age students from BYU and other area schools, so anyone in the vicinity should be prepared for high energy and excitement. Holi fest newcomers and those with small children are wise to plan ahead and consider staying on the periphery during massive, group color throws, and maybe stock up on bandanas or air-filtering masks and goggles if you aim to try out this exotic adventure next spring.

As a cultural venue, the Krishna Temple hosts other themed festivals throughout the year and offers guided tours every day. The building tour touches on architectural highlights and briefly covers ancient Krishna beliefs. Visitors can also explore the 15-acre grounds where llamas, peacocks, zebu (miniature cows), parrots, and a pond full of koi reside. For details about hours, tickets to festivals, and other event details, visit www.utahkrishnas.org.

The colors of nature put on a year-round show at Summit Creeks. Winter white is giving way to spring green and flowers carpeting the landscape. It seems fitting that a joyful, seasonal celebration of colors would take place just minutes away, and Sri Sri Radha Krishha Temple is just one example of the many places to explore cultural diversity and beauty in the surrounding towns.

Attribution/Caption for the attached Holi Pic
Steven GernerFlickr: Holi / Festival of Colors 2013

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