new vrindaban (12)

7971298458?profile=RESIZE_584xBy Madhava Smullen 

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ISKCON temples around the world closed their doors, and many found challenges in maintaining themselves without traditional in-person outreach activities.A family enjoys Sunday Brunch at their own socially-distanced table in the Prabhupada's Palace Rose Garden

By June, some had begun to reopen, with locally mandated restrictions. New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first farm community, in West Virginia, faced particular economic challenges due

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Starting in 1973, residents of New Vrindaban, West Virginia, held their own small rural Rathayatra festival on the farm, a sweet event with Lord Jagannath riding a succession of different charmingly rustic makeshift carts.

In the early 2000s, Malati Devi, one of the organizers of San Francisco’s 1967 Rathayatra – the first outside India – commissioned a proper traditional chariot and the festival grew in popularity within the community. 

Then in 2016, the Rathayatra became a public annual even

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Last weekend, July 17-19, Rambhoru Devi Dasi, a respected Srila Prabhupada disciple, Interfaith Chaplain, and Clinical Pastoral Educator, revisited New Vrindaban to offer a three-day workshop on the topic of “Bereavement after Loss and Self-care.”

Rambhoru Devi is a certified professional in her field. Her formal training includes a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies, a Master of Divinity Degree, a Masters’ Degree in Patient Counseling, and Board Certification from the Association for Cli

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Pandemic Ratha Yatra in New Vrindaban

Ratha Yatra 2020 – A spiritual reunion


Sri Baladeva, Subhadra and Jagannath

On 12 July, 2020, Summertime is Ratha Yatra time! The Ratha Yatra festival is a celebration of reunion, when Their Lordships Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra, who had been separated from Their devotees during a two-week “sick” leave, finally return and are taken out on a pleasure ride in a gorgeously decorated chariot. On a deeper level, it signifies the ecstatic reunion of Krishna with the residents of Vrindaban aft

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By Madhava Smullen 

Pilgrims wear masks and stand six feet apart while taking darshan of Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, ISKCON temples worldwide have been in lockdown, unable to connect with their communities or give spiritual knowledge to newcomers in person, and instead shifting these activities online. Without in-person outreach activities, the last few months have also seen temples struggling to maintain themselves, with centers in Italy, Franc

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By Madhava Smullen 

According to NPR, fear of food shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred people on to plant more vegetable gardens; while community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) are booming.

In New Vrindaban, West Virginia, ISKCON’s first rural community which Srila Prabhupada earmarked as an example of sustainability to the world, resident devotees have a headstart, and are using the pandemic to push themselves closer to their goal of self-sufficiency.

A few weeks ago,

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By Madhava Smullen

With temples all over the world dealing with the effects of COVID-19, ISKCON’s first farm community – New Vrindaban in West Virginia – has scaled down to core personnel and closed its doors to the public. 

A much larger operation than many city temples, New Vrindaban has 2,200 acres, has been established as a foremost place of pilgrimage in North America, and welcomes 35,000 visitors per year with a 5% annual increase. 

This also means a large staff to keep everything goin

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By Madhava Smullen

From letters Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciples, we know that he envisioned New Vrindaban as, among other things, a holy place of pilgrimage in North America, where devotees could gather for spiritual education.

Progress in realizing that vision has gone from strength to strength in recent times. New Vrindaban’s accommodation in its Palace Lodge, cabins, and temple guestwing have been beautifully remodeled, including several rooms with ensuite bathrooms. The recently

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ht1_slideshow.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710x By Madhava Smullen 

In West Virginia, the first frost can hit in Fall and the last in late Spring, halting the growing season all the way from October to May.

But devotees in New Vrindaban, ISKCON’s first farm community (est 1968) have just introduced three high tunnel greenhouses, allowing them to offer locally grown flowers and vegetables to Sri Sri Radha Vrindabanchandra and the temple kitchens all year round.  

The high tunnels were installed this summer by Amish company Yoder’s Produce fr

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Amburish cooking Sweet Rice in Pitts at Bahulaban in New Vrindaban 1982

Few prasadam stories from New Vrindaban’s history are as legendary as those of the late Amburish Dasa’s sweet rice and Pitambar Dasi’s ice cream.

Straight from the cow barn and prepared by the cowherd couple with deep love and devotion, they were much-craved treats in the austere lives of New Vrindaban’s early devotees.

Neither Amburish nor Pitambar had any cooking or cow-care experience before becoming devotees. Amburis

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By Madhava Smullen

Srila Prabhupada’s Palace in New Vrindaban was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 28th by the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, the Department of the Interior, and the National Park Service.

Around seventy devotees from around the US gathered on Friday September 27th, during the opening ceremonies for the 40th Anniversary of the Palace, to celebrate the distinction.

They formally dedicated a cast bronze plaque commemorat

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By Madhava Smullen

ISKCON New Vrindaban has published a booklet, entitled “New Vrindaban’s Guide to Who’s Who & What’s What” that takes visitors on a self-led tour of the temple and explains devotee life and beliefs. Initial feedback from pilgrims and tourists has been very positive, with some suggesting other ISKCON centers should develop a similar guide.

“We have mostly Indian preachers, and noticed that there was a disconnect, due to cultural differences, between them and our Western gues

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