“Ahmedabad PADAYATRA 2016” (Gujarat)
For the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON’s 50th Golden Jubilee year celebration, ISKCON Ahmedabad organized a ‘PADAYATRA’ , from ISKCON temple to Dakor, with hundreds of devotees chanting “Hare Krishna” maha-mantra, throughout the pad-yatra, for the benefit of people, as ordered by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu more than 500 years ago. This was our first Padayatra, out of the 50 padayatras planned this year for the 50th anniversary celebration of ISKCON and without any experience, so we were expecting round about 50/55 devotees for 5 day walk from Ahmedabad ISKCON temple to Dakor Dham. But, around 75/80 devotees were walking for all 5 days, and also 25/30 devotees of different groups from Ahmedabad temple were joining us for each day. Some joined for 2 days and some for 3 days also. In this way all together 100 plus devotees were taking part in Padayatra everyday.
H.G. Jashomatinandan Prabhu inaugurated the “Ahmedabad Padayatra 2016” Gujarat, by cutting the ribbon. All the devotees decided to pull the cart themselves like Rathayatra and hence, we started with kirtan, “krsna krsna, krsna krsna, krsna krsna krsna he ……… sung by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He left for South India Padayatra and Sri Narasimhadeva kirtan. All 5 days Padayatra went very smoothly and blissfully. We never had any complain of any devotees till last, by the mercy of Sri Sri Radha Govindaji and Gaura-Nitai and all Vaishnavas, it went very smooth all the days.
The route for Padayatra was pre-planned a month ago.
Started on 15th January from our ISKCON temple to Maninagar Swami-Narayan temple to Hathijana Swami-Narayan temple, night stay here.
On 16th Jan. from Hathijana to Ranachod Rai temple at Kanij to Siddhi Vinayak temple at Mehemdabad, night stay.
On 17th Jan. from Mehemdabad to Ranchod Rai Trust at Vathawadi to Sri Radha Krishna Trust at Sihuj, night stay.
On 18th Jan from Sihuj to Nani Kadhol to Alina, night stay.
On 19th Jan from Alina to Vrindavan Dham (rest house) to Shri Dakor Dham, reached at 1.30 noon.
Milk and breakfast was served in the morning daily to devotees and in noon lunch prasadam and dinner prasadam was served at night halts.
Everyday, early morning devotees use to get up at 3.30 am take bath and were ready till 5.15 for mangal arti, followed by Narasimha arti and Tulsi puja, after that japa for about 45 minutes, then Guru-puja of Srila Prabhupada, morning class from 7.30 to 8.15 am and then milk and breakfast. We use to start walking at 9.00 am. This was our daily routine sadhana for all 5 days. Devotees chanted all the way ‘Hare Krsna’ mahamantra kirtan, some were chanting on their beads continuously. Lunch was served everyday at 1.00 pm and rest for one and a half hour and again at 4.00 pm we started to walk till we reach our destination. After reaching our destination daily devotees were performing Sandhya arti followed Narasimha arti and at the end dinner prasadam was served. Not a single devotee got tired of walking because they were chanting their respective rounds all the way and engaged in kirtan.
All the way throughout Padayatra we distributed big and small books and also BTG. We also all the way long distributed prasadam (Teel Laddoos -seesam sweets, because of Makar Sankranti), and in the evening few devotees in tempo use to go and distribute our khichadi prasadam coming from temple. We also distributed Big and small books and BTGs, with kirtan party, in respective villages in the evenings, at halts.
On 18th H.H. Lokanath Swami Maharaja arrived at Radha Krishna Trust at Sihuj, did Guru puja and gave morning class till 9.10 am. He started kitan and continued for 7/8 kms just before we reached our noon destination, and in the evening he joined and continued kirtan till end at Alina village, which is totally crowded by muslims. Here we distributed BTG’s and small books free and lot of khichadi prasadam compared to other 4 days.
On 19th we left early morning at 6.30 am as our Guru puja, morning class and breakfast was planned in Vrindavan dham, which was only 4/5 kms away. H.H. Lokanath Swami Maharaja gave class and there even ‘Jain saadhavis (matajis)’ attended the class, who were walking as usual and later breakfast was served to all of them.
Everyday devotees were increasing and on the last two days devotees increased and gave the huge presence. Last day around 350+ devotees attended Padayatra till Dakor. H.H. Lokanath Swami Maharaja continued kirtan and ended at Dakor for about 10/11 kms. He continuously distributed the holy names ‘hare krsna’ maha-mantra.
At Dakor devotees were first served with Ranachodarai’s Rajbhog feast prasadam, sponsored by Mahendra prabhu, a dham-vasi from Dakor, which went on till 3.30 pm and the main program ending ceremony took place. Three disciples of Srila Prabhupada – H.H. Lokanatah Swami Maharaja, H.G. Jashomatinandan Prabhu and H.G. Sarvopama Prabhu graced the occasion and blessed all of us. Many other senior devotees were also present and graced the occasion. All three of them did wonderful kirtan and “Krsna katha”. At the end, Harshad Prabhu, a devotee of Ranchod Rai (Krsna), also Dakor dham-vasi, explained the katha of Ranachod Rai in details. We ended the program at 6.00 pm and all the devotees had darshan of Ranachod Rai and left to their respective places.
Most of the devotees were experiencing kind of a short 5 days ‘Vraj-mandal Parikrama’ or ‘Navadwipa-mandal Parikrama’. I was experiencing the 5 days Ahmedabad to Dakor Padayatra like a training center for “Vraj-mandal Parikrama”.
We distributed around more than 850 big books and hundreds of small books and more than thousand BTGs in these 5 days.
We hope and humbly pray for the blessings of all Vaishnavas, so that we continue this Padayatra service every year and also expand this to other ISKCON centers.
I am very much thankful to all those devotees who had extended their help in many ways to make this “Padayatra” a successful event for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada and his anugas.
Your servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
Murali Mohan das
Ahmedabad – Gujarat