Temple Turkey in Tucson Greets Guests, Wins Hearts at Govinda’s Restaurant


( – ISKCON News | Temple Turkey in Tucson Greets Guests, Wins Hearts at Govinda’s Restaurant

ISKCON Tucson’s award-winning restaurant, Govinda’s, has served guests gourmet vegetarian cuisine since 1992. The Temple’s newest resident, a white turkey named Sufi, was on hand to greet guests, share hugs, and take a lot of selfies at their annual Thanksgiving Day feast. “We named him Sufi because in Hindi “safed” means white, and Sufis are famously from Turkey,” noted Tucson’s Temple President Sandamani Devi Dasi with a smile. A 5th-grade classroom raised Sufi, and he later lived on a small family farm, so the friendly fowl was already acclimated to people and appreciated the attention.

His presence on Thanksgiving delighted guests and reinforced Hare Krishna’s belief that all living entities have eternal souls and are worthy of our protection and love. The temple-restaurant compound includes a koi pond and aviary where Sufi has already developed a friendship with the resident peacocks.

The popular Thanksgiving event, which has been going strong for three decades, saw the largest crowd to date, with 420 guests. The menu included tofu turkey, mashed potatoes with carrot-cashew gravy, quinoa stuffing, green bean almondine, vegan pumpkin pie, and many other delicious offerings. Sufi’s favorite food is bananas, by the way.

“We had two buffets set up – one inside and the other on the patio to accommodate all the people,” said Sandamani, “It was a perfect day of 75 degrees, and while our devotees played live music on the stage, Sufi wandered around getting love and lots of pictures.”

Many guests said there is no other place they would rather be on Thanksgiving. They noted the presence of peace, the friendly atmosphere, and the great food.

“Lots of families with three generations come every year,” Sandamani shared, “People came from Phoenix and 100 miles in all directions.” Govinda’s famously first-class service was made possible by 25 devotees who were greeting guests, filling the buffets, offering water, cleaning the tables, continuously cooking, and hosting the book table. Through hard work, devotees experienced the ecstasy of loving service and later shared a separate meal honoring Ekadashi.

To follow the expanding service of the Tucson community, receive updates on their Temple project, and more, visit their website or follow them on Facebook  Click here to explore Govinda’s menus, hours, and upcoming events.

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