Sri Jagannath Ratha Yatra

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Puri Dham

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*Ksirachora Gopinath*|*Saksi Gopal*|*Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya*
*Haridas Thakur*|*Cleansing the Gundicha Temple*

Diary 4-10 July 2005 by Malini Devi Dasi

Next stop is the Saksi Gopal Temple. It looks beautiful from the outside and we can just about make out the form of the Deity inside, because unfortunately for us Westerners, we are not allowed into the temple compound due to our non-Hindu background. We pray the Deity sees us though, as we pay our dandevats at the entrance, trying to peek inside.

The devotees arrive at Saksi Gopal Temple at dusk.

On our way back we are attracted to the prospect of going to take bath in the ocean, and just as we reach 'Sevak Bhavan,' the Devotees' Guesthouse, we find some Indian devotees eagerly urging us along to join them. They go ahead and we reach the beach minutes later to find about fifty or more of 'our' devotees all having a happy gathering on the beach.

Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself bathed in this ocean, and now so many devotees are paddling or swimming, fully dressed in colourful saris, Punjabi suits and gamchas, as the wild waves crash in from the Bay of Bengal. The sound of laughter and shrieking from women, men and children alike fills the air, and the mood is playful as though we are ALL children.

The devotees play in the ocean where Mahaprabhu manifest some of His Pastimes.

Time flies when you are having fun, and very quickly the morning is gone and it is time for Prasadam again! A short rest is allowed after the meal, and the parikrama begins....

It is about 3:45pm when the Sankirttan party leaves the main temple, coming around the back to where the Devotees' Guesthouse is, continuing up the road away from the ocean.

The parikrama begins, stopping first at Srila Saraswati Prabhupad's Bhajan Kutir where the devotees listen to Sripad Giri Maharaj's lecture.
Our first stop is at Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad's Bhajan Kutir, where we pay our obeisances and circumumbulate the temple and bhajan kutir. We continue to Sri Tota Gopinath's Temple, however here are many devotees from another party so we do not disturb their Sankirttan and leave quietly after paying our respects. So after this, our Sankirttan party stops under the shelter of a huge tree, to tell stories related to our visits.

The devotees outside the Temple of Tota Gopinath, listening to Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj relating some Pastimes.
We can hear our party conducting a small programme within the walls as we circumumbulate the periphery of the temple, while one of the Western Brahmacharis tells us the sweet tale of how the Deity walked here all the way from Vrndavan to bear witness to His devotee.

The Indian group soon re-emerge, still chanting, and we join them to walk back to the bus, still chanting....

The rest of the ride to Puri goes without interruption. We have been on the bus for well over 24 hours, mostly without any sleep, and our bodies feel the journey taking its toll. By the time we arrive at our Temple in Puri Dham at around 9:00pm, and 30 hours since we first boarded the bus in Nabadwip, we are extremely happy to reach our destination, and safely too.

It takes a while to settle everybody into their accommodation, with their luggage - there were well over sixty people on the bus! Prasadam distribution is quite hectic with everyone arriving at different times, but everyone is content and satisfied, without complaint. We definitely look forward to a good sleep in a horizontal position though!

6th July 2005 - Puri, 1st Day

This morning nothing is planned for us; it is intended as recovery time from the long, tedious but worthwhile journey. However a parikrama of the Holy Dham led by Sripad Acharyya Maharaj will take place in the afternoon after Prasadam.

I had been to Puri earlier this year, during April. It was very quiet then. I had visited most places of pilgrimage, and had developed a particular fondness and attraction for the Tota Gopinath Temple which is situated only about a ten-minute walk from our temple which is near the ocean. I feel I want to go there first thing, and chant some rounds of japa in a quiet moment, since I imagine that during the parikrama it will be a different atmosphere with so many people. So I go, taking three other Western Didis along with me. It is very sweet and we spend about an hour there.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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