By Radhakunda dasa
ISKCON Noida recently held its fifth eighteen-day padayatra to Vrindavan under the leadership of Noida temple president Vamsidhar dasa. The first padayatra was in 2016, ISKCON’s golden jubilee year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic it had to be cancelled in 2020. However, by the mercy of our spiritual master, Lokanath Maharaja, we were successful this year. Padayatra began on October 3 from the ISKCON Noida temple as a large group of devotees and congregation members set off on the approximately 150km trek. On October 20, the auspicious first day of Kartika, we reached the Krishna-Balaram temple in Vrindavan dhama.
Day 1 3/10/2021 ISKCON Noida to Farmhouse
Day 2 4/10/2021 Farmhouse to ISKCON Greater Noida
Day 3 5/10/2021 ISKCON Greater Noida to Azampur Gadi
Day 4 6/10/2021 Azampur Gadi to Dankaur
Day 5 7/10/2021 Dankaur to Rabupura
Day 6 8/10/2021 Rabupura to Jewar
Day 7 9/10/2021 Jewar to Tappal
Day 8 10/10/2021 Tappal to Jattari
Day 9 11/10/2021 Jattari to Sofa ki Nahar
Day 10 12/10/2021 Sofa ki Nahar to Khair
Day 11 13/10/2021 Khair to Bajana
Day 12 14/10/2021 Bajana to Naujheel
Day 13 15/10/2021 Naujheel to Sultanpur
Day 14 16/10/2021 Sultanpur to Tentigaon
Day 15 17/10/2021 Tentigaon to Mat
Day 16 18/10/2021 Mat to Panigaon
Day 17 19/10/2021 Panigaon to Vrindavan
Day 18 20/10/2021 Vrindavan parikrama on first day of Kartika
Preparations for the padayatra had started one month earlier. The chariot and the oxen were beautifully decorated, the devotees were invited and dignitaries were called upon to attend the inauguration ceremony.
On October 3 the morning arati was offered and then with the breaking of coconuts padayatra was inaugurated by the auspicious hands of Harivilas Varma, a great donor who sponsored our padayatra chariot, witnessed by many other guests. After an inspiring speech by Vamsidhar the padayatris departed at 3pm with many congregation devotees joining us in the procession.
Along the way we had nagar sankirtan and distributed books wherever we overnighted and many villagers would dance with us as we sang the holy name. The next morning, we would perform mangal arati and after chanting rounds with Lokanath Maharaja depart for our next destination by 6:30am. This was our daily schedule.
On day five we walked from Dankaur to Rabupura after mangal arati, a distance of 15km. Unfortunately, as we were about to stop for breakfast the yoke of our chariot broke and it was 2pm by the time the yoke was repaired. We finally reached our destination at 3:30pm after a tough day. We halted at Rabupura’s Saraswati temple and in the evening, we were joined by Vamsidhar on a grand nagar sankirtan. We also discussed with some favourable people there and soon we will be having regular sankirtan in Rabupura.
On day eight we walked 9km from Tappal to Jattari. Not long after leaving Tappal we came to a college where the guards and other people blocked our path, insisting that we wait there until a party from Noida had arrived. We had sankirtan and katha and then breakfast until Harivilas Varma and some Noida congregation devotees joined us and honoured prasadam with us.
On October 19 there was much excitement among the padayatris as our destination was only a few kilometres away. It was raining but our hearts were longing to go to Vrindavan – “mora mana Vrindavan.” We then began to make arrangements for our arrival at the dhama as we decorated our chariot with flowers which had come from Noida with several congregation devotees.
We entered Vrindavan on October 20, the first day of Kartika, to a rousing welcome at the Jagannath temple where the pujari performed arati of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. As we proceeded towards our ISKCON temple a second welcome came just after Atalla Chungi chowk from my parents, Indraneel dasa and Janhavi mataji. We were given a third welcome upon arrival at the Krishna-Balaram mandir by temple president Panchagauda dasa, Srila Prabhupada disciple Srutakirti prabhu, Nama hatta in charge Krishna Kumar prabhu, All-India Padayatra leader Acarya dasa, Istadev dasa, Brajbhumi dasa and many other devotees as we took the last few steps of our padayatra along a road decorated with rangoli. Panchagauda and Srutakirti offered a garland to Srila Prabhupada and then there was a grand kirtan with arati of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai. After a talk by Panchagauda we took our utsava deities of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai to Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi where all the padayatris circumambulated the samadhi and then took darshan of Sri Sri Nitai-Gaurasundar, Sri Sri Krishna-Balaram and Sri Sri Radha-Shyamasundar.
The padayatris along with our chariot and many devotees then performed parikrama of Vrindavan dhama. After prasadam the padayatris shared their realizations about padayatra and that evening we returned to Noida, thus completing our fifth Noida to Vrindavan padayatra.
Srila Prabhupada, ki jai.
Read more: https://www.padayatra.com/iskcon-noida-completes-its-fifth-annual-eighteen-day-padayatra/