“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare . . .” is the chant you may remember from the rock musical and movie “Hair” or from the groups of people marching around certain cities at night. The Hare Krishna movement, also known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), is an international devotion with 10,000 temple devotees and 250,000 congregational devotees.
The movement is also known for a “karma-free diet” – vegetarian food that can be found in 60 restaurants around the world. Here’s a listing, though it is missing a few spots I have been to. Restaurants (some called Govinda’s and typically serving Indian food) can also be found on VegDining.com and HappyCow.net. When traveling internationally, I have found Hare Krishna restaurants a lifesaver for wholesome and inexpensive veggie food in Colombia, Uganda, and other places I can’t recall at the moment.
In cities around the world where there is a Hare Krishna group, devotees spend hours preparing meals that are served to the public on Sundays and are sometimes free. In San Diego at the Sunday festival and open house, in an evening filled with singing, dancing and spiritual discussion, people sit on floor pillows and hold out plates for huge portions of food served by volunteers for $5. Last time we had a serious feast with vegan pizza, salad, and cooked veggies and lentils, plus baklava, cookies, and nectar (juice).
Whether your city has Hare Krishna offerings or you are partaking of vegetarian travel, the community is a great way to meet people, feel uplifted by music and thoughtful topics of conversation, and of course, satisfy your hunger with healthy meals.