We are losing the natural beauty of Braja and the Govardhan parikrama experience

31 05 2010

Jai Nitai!

We are all more or less aware of the destruction and insanity that it currently taking place in Brindavan in the name of “development.” Instead of trying to maintain the spiritual and cultural heritage which is the real wealth of India,  the current government is instead simply  interested  in quick money by  exploiting  India’s sacred areas and resources in their rush to fatten their purses and attain  first-world status which they  will never achieve by such careless and destructive behavior.

Jagat Ji informed me yesterday that on the 29th of May bulldozers were sent to Anyour, which is a small village  about four  kilometres south of the town of Govardhan on the parikrama marg and asked if I could get some photos. Grateful for the opportunity to do some seva I packed my camera, jumped on my bicycle, and wondered what I was going to encounter. Before actually arriving in Anyour I saw some buildings destroyed. I was a little confused because what they tore down with the bulldozers didn’t seem to follow any pattern. It looked random to me…as if they just picked and chose whatever they felt like destroying as they went.

The Government wants to install stone walkways on both sides of the marg and from what I have gathered,  anything within 21 meters of the center of the road will be cleared out so the road can be widened and the stone pathways can be installed. It appears that soon you will no longer be able to walk on the natural surface of the sandy ground when doing parikrama. Let’s all hope and pray that they leave the inner margs untouched.

So far the damage from the bulldozers is somewhat minimal, but that is soon about to change. There are literally hundreds of trees that have  the  red and white stripes painted on them which I was told by some managers of Brij Vasundhara luxury cottages means that they are to be cut down. I spoke with one man and his son who lost their entire house which included a puja room for a large Govardhan sila they worshiped. The  walls and ceiling of the puja room were smashed and collapsing. Giriraj was covered in dust and surrounded by broken chips of bricks and cement. The man was squatting on a little section of the roof of his house that was still standing with his chin in his hands contemplating what he should do.  I saw several Shiva-linga shrines, a mandir of Durga Ma, and many other sacred places that will soon be crushed by the bulldozers.

Yesterday they began pouring concrete on parikrama marg from the road leading to the south side of Manasi Ganga heading towards town. The road that runs along with the parikrama marg will all be widened and covered with concrete and both sides of the marg will have those three-sided interlocking stones covering the natural dirt pathways we all so much enjoyed traversing.  Nearly the entire road from Govardhan to Radhakund has been chopped up in preparation for the concrete that will eventually (probably soon)   be  poured and like everywhere else I saw, they are preparing for the stone walking paths to be laid.

I will post some photos that will give an idea what is happening on the parikrama  marg  now from beyond the town of Govardhan up to the area of Govinda Kunda. I hope to return tomorrow when the bulldozers are scheduled to come back and take more photos.


Radha Kunda photo tour…less frequented locations Pt. 1

23 12 2009

Jai Sri Radhey!

There are dozens of mandirs here at Radha Kunda. Even if you stay at Radha Kunda for a considerable amount of time there will likely be many places that remain unvisited and unexplored. I thought it would be interesting to go to many of these lesser visited mandirs and share the images and information I could obtain. I am posting the images in the order you will encounter them if doing parikrama of Radha and Shyama Kundas, but other than that the mandirs shown in this series are a random selection… I am just entering various mandirs and taking photos as the inspiration hits me. Since it is winter time many of the deities are bundled up in chadars and blankets so you can’t always get a good look at Them. I will probably want to take Their photos again after it warms up.

In the late 1600’s many original deities had to be moved to Jaipur because of Muslim invasions. Radha Kunda was a stopping point on the way.  Replicas of these mandirs were established here at Radha Kunda at that time and the worship has been going on for hundreds of years. These deities are known as pratibhU mUrti and represent the originals and are not to be considered to be different. So you can visit the seven major mandirs of Brindavan here at Radha Kunda.

The first mandir pictured is Radha Ramana.  Along with Radha Raman you will see Balaram and Revati on the altar. Also just to the left of the entrance of this mandir is Mahadeva who is guarding the north side of the kunda. You will also find the carankamala of Sri Radha there. The next two places are found off of parikrama marg by going left down the first road you encounter. There is a mandir of Sri Sri Radha Binodji that are very beautiful and then a little farther down is and what used to be the bhajan kutir of Bhakivinod Thakur and his son Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. It is called Vraja Swananda Sukada Kunja. Inside you will find some pushpa samadhis and some personal articles of Bhaktivinod. Also there is the first toilet in Radha Kunda. I was told that Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati installed the toilet which was stylish in those days in hopes of getting people to use plumbing and not just go anywhere that was handy. Now if you return to parikrama marg, immediately on your left you will find Bishwambhar Mahaprabhu Mandir.