Sri Jagannath Ratha Yatra
Diary 4-10 July 2005 by Malini Devi Dasi

Next we go to Patal Mahadev, Yameswar Siva, which is a large Siva Temple located under the normal road level; then on to Sveta Ganga, 'White Ganga,' where she manifested in Puri Dham in the form of a kund. This latter is located just near to Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya's house, where the Lord manifested His six-armed Form.

Next, Patal Mahadev and Sveta Ganga are visited.

The Sankirttan party first heads towards the ocean to pay respect to where Mahaprabhu bathed daily, then doubles back up the road towards the Jagannath Temple in the opposite direction.

We stop at Sri Haridas Thakur's Samadhi Mandir, where after circumumbulating and chanting we have seated kirttan and a short class in Bengali. From here, the next place we visit is the Siddha Bakul.

The devotees begin the second day's parikrama at the ocean and continue to visit the places related to Haridas Thakur's Pastimes.
This holy tree was planted by Mahaprabhu Himself from a used Jagannath toothpick, to provide shade for Haridas Thakur to chant 300,000 Names of God daily. The party also stops here for a while to tell some stories relating to this holy place.

From here it's only a short distance to the Jagannath Temple, and all the devotees move swiftly forward, dancing and chanting. The Indians go inside while the Westerners, being from a non-Hindu background, have to wait outside. Such crowds are here that the party re-emerges fragmented. As we wait for everybody to gather, the group sits down, chanting outside the temple gate.

The party waits outside the Jagannath Temple, then continues Sankirttan up the road towards Gundicha, with the Ratha Yatra cars in the background.
From here we start moving towards the Gundicha Temple where Jagannath resides for seven days after the Ratha Yatra festival, before being brought back to His usual residence. On the way, we stop shortly at a temple that stands where Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad was born, and then a few metres along to Ramananda Ray's garden. However non-Hindus are also not allowed to enter this latter place either.

The devotees come out of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's birthplace performing incessant Sankirttan, and visit Ramananda Ray's garden.
At Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya's house we stop for some time, listening to the Pastimes related to this place, related in Bengali by Sripad Bhakti Kiran Giri Maharaj, and the equivalent in English by Sripad Bhakti Amul Paramahamsa Maharaj.

As we sit, listening attentively in the courtyard of the original house where the Pastimes were manifested, we take darshan of the five sets of Deities of Radha-Krishna in the house: Radha Madan Mohan; Radha Rasik Raj; Shyam Sundar; Radha-Raman and Radha-Vinod, while the Pujari looks on.

Our next visit is attempted at Gambhira, where Sriman Mahaprabhu lived for the last eighteen years of His manifest Pastimes. However several other parties are there, and unfortunately it is impossible for all our group to enter and see the place.

The last stop for story-telling is Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya's house before the devotees return to our Puri temple performing a lively Sankirttan.

On the way returning to the Math, the Sankirttan becomes increasingly energetic and fast-paced, with several karatals, a very enthusiastic mrdanga player and heartfelt chanting and dancing. The mood is awesome, and when we finally arrive at our temple, we circumumbulate Sri Sri Nitai-Chaitanyadev while chanting the glories of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, followed by Tulasi Arati.

Back at the guesthouse, devotees excitedly exchange impressions and experiences of the day, and shortly after, Prasadam is served.

What a beautiful day, the first day in Puri Dham!

7th July 2005 - Puri, 2nd Day

This is the second day in Puri and only the day before the Ratha Yatra. The pilgrimage continues, starting off from the temple at 8:00am after breakfast Prasadam.

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip
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